The US government created a 'College Scorecard' that may revolutionize how students pick their colleges


student loan debt occupy wall street

Daniel Goodman / Business Insider

The Obama administration unveiled a "College Scorecard" website over the weekend, The New York Times reported.

And though the Times notes it falls short of the sweeping website it had originally aimed to create - which would have ranked every college in the US, presumably shaming poorly performing schools - it contains a vast amount of information for prospective college attendees and their families.

The White House said the scorecard it will provide "the clearest, most accessible, and most reliable national data on cost, graduation, debt, and post-college earnings."
The website allows comparison among a number of categories. Most notably, it measures the average annual cost of attending the school with the salary after attending the school for students who receive federal financial aid.

The site then allows visitors to sort and filter their list to easily compare schools and decide which college makes the most financial sense when considering student loan amount and future earnings.

Below is an example that Business Insider pulled to compare two similarly priced schools.

new school

US Department of Education

At Fairfield University, the average annual cost to attend (as defined as the average annual net price for federal financial aid recipients, after aid from the school, state, or federal government) is $35,212.The salary after attending for Fairfield graduates (defined as the median earnings of former students who received federally financial aid, 10 years after entering the school) is $69,000.

The New School costs about the same per year for federal aid recipients, but graduates make far less than Fairfield graduates, according to the government's data.

Amid a so-called student-loan crisis - in which student-loan debt in the US has reached a staggering $1.2 trillion, and the average 2015 graduate will have to repay more than $35,000 - the government's website may revolutionize how prospective students make their college choice.

For families who feel that the current resources available to compare colleges on a multitude of factors are opaque, or even nonexistent, the site offers a comprehensive tool that offers transparency and reliability in choosing the right college.

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