The U.S. Department of Education’s new College Scorecard site, which replaces an older one of the same name, shows details about students’ actual college costs, loan paybacks, earnings and more. Counting more than 3500 two- and four-year colleges in the database, the Scorecard brings a wealth of mobile-friendly data into the hands of students to make informed decisions about college.
On the financial side, the Scorecard shows annual college costs for all students, and average costs broken out by family income levels – so you can estimate what a student with your family’s income might expect to pay. The financial aid and debt tab highlights the percentage of students with federal loans, the amount of debt students graduate with, and an estimated median student loan payment amount.
Thanks to a partnership with the Internal Revenue Service, the Scorecard shows students’ median earnings six and ten years after they start at a college. Student earnings are compared to national averages, and to earnings for those with only a high school education.
A caveat to note is that earnings data is summarized by college, rather than by degree program. In reality, students who graduate from the same college with different majors will have significantly different employment and earnings prospects. The Department of Education would like, in the future, to include additional types of data in the Scorecard that addresses this limitation.
On the academic side, the Scorecard shows student graduation rates, so you can see the percentage of students who earn their degrees within a specified time. You can also learn the percentage of students who return after their first year.