Secretary DeVos Delivers on Promise to Provide Students Relevant, Actionable Information Needed to Make Personalized Education Decisions

Secretary DeVos Delivers on Promise to Provide Students Relevant, Actionable Information Needed to Make Personalized Education Decisions

New College Scorecard contains program-level debt and earnings data, more inclusive graduation rates, holds all schools accountable to the same standards
November 20, 2019

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos delivered on her promise to provide students more information than ever before as they make decisions about their postsecondary education options. Thanks to the groundbreaking redesign of the College Scorecard, students can now find customized, accessible, and relevant data on potential debt and earnings based on fields of study (including for 2-year programs, 4-year degrees, certificate programs, and some graduate programs), graduation rates, and even apprenticeships.  This total Scorecard "rethink," as Secretary DeVos says, builds on President Trump's Executive Order on Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities and will truly help students find the right fit for them.

"Every student is unique," said Secretary DeVos. "What they study, as well as when, where, and how they chose to pursue their education will impact their future. Students know this instinctively. That's why we worked to deliver a product that is customizable and transparent—a tool that provides real information students need to make informed, personalized decisions about their education. The Scorecard also ensures students can make apples-to-apples comparisons by providing the same data about all of the programs a student might be considering without regard to the type of school."

For the first time ever, students will now have access to information on the median earnings and median debt of a school's graduates, based on their chosen field of study. That means, for example, a student interested in studying engineering can now compare outcomes, such as first-year earnings and student loan debt, among engineering programs within an institution and among those offered at other schools. 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.

Previously, Scorecard users could only see the median earnings and median debt at the institutional level, which is a fairly meaningless metric given the diversity of programs and outcomes at any given single school. The Scorecard now shows the range of earnings among the various programs an institution offers. 

The Scorecard also builds upon prior updates to include all students, including transfer and part-time students, to provide comprehensive data on graduation rates.  Instead of focusing only on first-time, full-time student graduation rates, the Scorecard allows users to calculate graduation rates whether they are full-time, part-time, first-time, or transfer students. With the click of a button, users can see the likelihood of graduation for students like them. 

"This update to College Scorecard is truly a transformative one that places a strong emphasis on transparency," said Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development James Blew. "I look forward to seeing how students, parents, and researchers alike use this new data to inform decision-making."

The Scorecard's search function in general is more intuitive and dynamic than before, allowing prospective students to more easily find and compare schools that meet their needs.  Students and their parents can now search for schools by acceptance rate, ACT/SAT scores, and location (including a "close to me" feature).

Today's updates build on the improvements announced earlier this year, which involved expanding the College Scorecard to include information on 2,100 certificate-granting institutions. The Secretary has encouraged all students to "Rethink Education" and consider the multitude of education options that can lead to success upon graduation.

To visit the College Scorecard, go to https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/ or click on the College Scorecard link in the myStudentAid mobile app.

In addition to its consumer website that highlights a subset of its available data, College Scorecard continues to make over 2,000 data elements available to developers, researchers, and others through an application program interface (API).