The Department of Education (ED) on Tuesday announced an update to its College Scorecard, a free online tool that helps students make decisions when choosing a college or university. The update will help students find and enroll in postsecondary institutions with high-value programs, ED said in its announcement.
Specifically, the updated College Scorecard now includes data on the median earnings of former graduates four years after completion of their requisite field of study, rather than three years after completion. The data draws on the most recent calculations from the National Student Loan Data System and the IRS, which ED said will allow students to understand which institution’s graduates take on less loan debt and which former students earn more after graduation.
“Today’s updates are reflective of the Department’s commitment to continuously improve the College Scorecard so that it works for prospective students and families; to maintaining open and accessible postsecondary education data; and to promoting greater engagement in and awareness of postsecondary outcomes,” ED said in its announcement.
Additionally, the update has new demographic data, including race and ethnicity data for full-time college staff and student-to-faculty ratios, which will help students “have a fuller picture of campus diversity as part of a school’s profile,” such as student body size, ratio of part-time to full-time students, and socioeconomic diversity of students, among other things.
There’s also more information for prospective graduate students, along with undergraduates, on fields of study, earnings, and student debt trends. Prospective students can now search for fields of study for all degree levels, including post-baccalaureate certificates, master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees. And by searching a field of study and degree type, prospective students can also compare data on the earnings, debt, and number of students served, which ED notes is especially important “given the significant investment and loan debt that students take on to pay for graduate programs.”
ED said its update also refreshed the College Scorecard with a more user-friendly interface “that makes it easier for students and families to navigate the data, discover programs, and compare information on fields of study across multiple institutions.”
Publication Date: 4/26/2023