Choosing a college just got a little easier, thanks to a revamped government tool that provides information on what former students of each school might earn, how much debt they leave with, and what percentage can repay their federal student loans.
The revamped government website, the College Scorecard, was unveiled by the Obama administration on September 12, 2015 and lets prospective students and families easily find information about colleges and universities.
“Everyone should be able to find clear, reliable, open data on college affordability and value,” President Barack Obama said in his weekly radio address. “Many existing college rankings reward schools for spending more money and rejecting more students — at a time when America needs our colleges to focus on affordability and supporting all students who enroll.”
The site reveals a host of student outcomes at specific institutions, including:
- graduation rates;
- median salary information; and
- student loan repayment rates, including the share of a college’s former students who are paying down their federal loans within the first three years after leaving college.
The information is a step up from the old version of the site, which tracked former students in default on their federal loans. Those numbers hid the millions of borrowers who were in forbearance or otherwise not making their payments.
Now, students weighing their college options can see whether students at a particular school earn more than they would have had they entered the job market right after high school, graduation rates and typical student debt and monthly payments a student would owe for each school.
“Students deserve to know their investment of resources and hard work in college is going to pay off,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
The Obama administration originally wanted the site to provide a college ratings system that would judge schools on affordability and return on investment. That plan was scuttled in the face of criticism from those in higher education as well as Congressional members who saw it as arbitrary, unfair, and a case of government overreach.