The United States Department of Education has released an updated College Scorecard with new information that will be better at helping students evaluate their education choices. For the first time, the College Scorecard allows students to compare earnings and debt averages from specific college programs, rather than at each college as a whole. This data could be really useful for understanding the immediate return on investment for different programs at higher education institutions across the country.
Previously, College Scorecard users could only see the median earnings and median debt for all graduates of a given school six years after entering. Students couldn’t differentiate between different majors. Now, students or those preparing to attend colleges and universities can see program-specific information. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement that it now provides “real information students need to make informed, personalized decisions about their education.”
Students can search individual majors at a school to see how much graduates typically earned and owed a year after graduation. Graduates from the University of Southern California’s that earned a master’s degree in social work left with over $115,000 in debt and earned $49,900. For the same degree at San Jose State, students borrowed about $36,000 and earned nearly $70,000. At Arizona State University, a doctorate in education showed a median debt of just over $40,000, while Capella University showed a doctorate in education with a median debt of almost $125,000.
This release is a huge win for students, families, and taxpayers. DeVos stated, “Students will be able to see if a career and technical education program at a two-year institution might generate a higher return on investment than a more traditional program at a four-year institution. Rather than having to rely on reputation-based rankings, the Scorecard will also allow students to choose a program based on the outcomes of students who have already completed that program.”