Sep 29, 2017
U.S. Department of Education Releases New College Scorecard Data
On September 28, 2017, the U.S. Department of Education refreshed the College Scorecard consumer website and downloadable data files with new data for most elements. This marks the Scorecard’s second annual data update, signaling The Department’s continued commitment to providing students, policymakers, researchers, and institutions with the most current available data on key metrics including students’ post-graduation earnings, cumulative federal loan debt, and federal student loan repayment rates.
In addition to updated data, the Scorecard consumer tool now allows users to choose specific colleges and universities to compare within the Scorecard search function. This new feature will make it much easier for students to understand how individual schools perform relative to one another. Users can also now select from five family income categories to get more precise institutional net price comparisons.
The downloadable data files and API include updated metrics from the National Student Loan Data System, minor methodological changes, and new data elements including a flag for each institution’s open admissions status, its accrediting agency, and its date of initial eligibility to receive Title IV financial aid.
IHEP and the PostsecData Collaborative continue to support the College Scorecard, as it offers valuable information to key stakeholders that would be otherwise unavailable. However, there are still many ways to improve both the Scorecard’s existing consumer tool and data files. The data file includes completion data by race, and the Department should add these data to the consumer website to illuminate degree attainment inequities in our higher education system. The Department should also move forward with previously announced plans to collect and release program-level outcomes data to give students a clearer earnings and employment outlook in their field of choice.
However, these data still leave many important questions about students’ college access, progression, completion, costs, and post-college outcomes unanswered. The bi-partisan College Transparency Act, which was introduced in both the Senate and the House in May, proposes the creation of a secure, privacy-protected federal student-level data network. If enacted, the network would give students, policymakers, and institutions the more complete, timely, and accurate information they need to make informed decisions about higher education.
Details on all updates to the Scorecard consumer tool and underlying data are posted in the Scorecard Change Log.