The Department of Education (DoE) has released new updates to its College Scorecard that are intended to make the tool more useful for students and families weighing college options. DoE said that updates may also be beneficial to school counselors, college access providers, researchers, and other critical stakeholders.
According to a press release, the DoE has improved the College Scorecard interactive web tool. Additionally, the department has restored several metrics that were previously suspended during the earlier part of the COVID-19 pandemic that help students gauge how their prospective institution compares to other colleges across costs, graduation rates, post-college earnings, and other metrics. DoE says the changes “reflect the department’s priority of supporting and encouraging inclusive, affordable postsecondary programs that provide strong career outcomes for students.”
“For so many students and families, the college search process can be overwhelming. But easily accessible, high-quality information about higher education institutions can help students determine which college or university is the best fit for them,” said Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “The updated and enhanced College Scorecard shines a spotlight on affordability, inclusivity, and outcomes, over exclusivity and colleges that leave students without good jobs and with mountains of debt. This update reflects the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to ensuring students remain at the heart of the Department’s work.”
The press release explained that the updates to the College Scorecard also include an annual refresh of the cumulative loan debt of student borrowers at both the institutional level and by field of study within each institution, as well as federal student loan repayment rates for the institution.
The department also highlighted that for the first time since 2018, the department is institution-level earnings data, which provide an overall sense of the career outcomes for alumni of the institution. The information will be published both in the data files and on the consumer site. The scorecard also highlights information about graduates who are better off for having gone to college, by showing the percentage of those earning more than the typical worker with only a high school diploma.
“College Scorecard data provide essential details for students and prospective students across all colleges, helping them to make informed decisions about their post-secondary education plans,” the department said. “The data also shines a spotlight on accessible colleges that are serving their students well, including by closing gaps in the completion rates among students of color compared with white students and by ensuring programs lead to positive career outcomes with manageable levels of debt.”