Talk to a debt counselor toll free:800-300-9550
Our Clients Rate Us Excellent
Based on 3234 reviewsTrustPilot Reviews
As an example of how the website works a high school senior could find the percentage of those at a specific school that earned more than if they had gotten a job just out of high school. The site also displays the median earnings of former students at 10 years after they had begun school and compares this to the national average. In addition, the website can be searched by percentage of those that graduated, how much debt they typically had and how much a student would have to make in monthly payments. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, "Students deserve to know their investment of resources and hard-work in college is going to pay off."
How the site works
Choosing a college using The College Scoreboard is very easy. If you go to the site you will find five options – Programs/Degrees, Location, Size, Name and Advanced Search. If you were to start by clicking on Programs/Degrees you would then have two choices – Choose a degree or Choose a program.
Clicking on Choose a program opens a window displaying 38 possible programs ranging from Agriculture to Visual and Performing Arts. If you were to choose Engineering you would next choose a location and then school size ranging from small (less than 2,000) to large (more than 15,000). After you fill in all your answers you would click on Find Schools. The website will then display a list of the schools that matched your criteria with the average actual cost of each, graduation rate and salary after graduation. As an example of this if you had selected engineering and the state of Georgia but had indicated no preference as to school size you would see 14 results including Emery University with an average annual cost of $28,463, a graduation rate of 89% and a $59,000 a year salary after attending. Select View More Details and you could then get more information about Financial Aid and Debt, Graduation & Retention, and Earnings After School. You can also choose SAT/ACT scores and see the average scores in these categories of those that had been admitted.
Why the original site was scuttled
Obama's administration had originally planned to include a system for ranking schools on their affordability and return on investment. However, many of those in higher education quickly criticized the idea because of their concern that these rankings would be unfair and subjective. The initial idea was also to use the ratings as the basis for handing out billions of federal dollars in financial aid. However, this idea was scuttled. This new version of The College Scorecard is designed to offer students the data that would help them make good choices and then reach their own conclusions.
Not perfect yet
Those higher education leaders who had opposed the original grading system tentatively welcomed the new version but said they felt it still needed work. For example the president of the American Council on Education, Molly Corbett Broad, said she understood the need for having good data about the earnings of college graduates but also noted, "Developing a system of this size and scope is a complicated and nuanced endeavor and the department has done so without any external review." She also said that there were still significant limitations in the data provided such as just one number for earnings for an entire school regardless of whether the student had majored in early childhood education, mathematics or economics. Despite these shortcomings there are college search sites such as ScholarMatch and StartClass that are using this new scorecard to help people do customized searches.