News: College Access & Success

5 Ways to Use the College Scorecard to Advise Students

Monday, September 9, 2019  
Posted by: guest blogger Chloe Stephenson, RTI International
Share |

As the new school year begins, many high school students, parents, and working Americans are considering their next educational steps. With a variety of postsecondary options to consider, it is important that all prospective students have the information they need to make the best decision for their future. That's why the U.S. Department of Education provides the College Scorecard – available at – to ensure that students and families have the most up-to-date, comprehensive, and reliable information available on colleges in an easy-to-understand format. Below are five ways to use the College Scorecard to advise students about undergraduate postsecondary opportunities.

  1. Search, sort, and filter schools. The College Scorecard is an interactive search tool that allows you to search, sort, and filter over 5,800 schools based on cost, location, predominant degree offering, size, school type, areas of study offered, and additional unique criteria. For example, students can use the College Scorecard to find men- or women-only institutions, Hispanic-serving institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, universities with specific religious affiliations, schools that offer particular types of degrees or areas of study, and much more.

  2. Examine college costs. Based on usage data, college cost is the single most searched criteria. The College Scorecard provides clear, accessible, and reliable data on college costs with a focus on "net price" which is the institution's cost of attendance minus the average grant/scholarship aid from the state, school and federal government. Without considering grants and scholarships prospective students might not realize the number of colleges that are financially viable options.  The Scorecard also provides average cost by family income, typical total debt after graduation, and typical monthly loan payment.

  3. Compare schools. One of the newest features of the College Scorecard is the ability to compare up to ten schools at a time. As students build their school list, the Scorecard will automatically separate predominately 4-year institutions, 2-year institutions, and certificate-granting institutions. By grouping schools by institution type, students are able to compare schools across metrics such as average annual cost, graduation rate, retention rate, full-time enrollment, typical SAT/ACT scores for admitted students, and more

  4. Save & share. The Scorecard also allows users to save their school list between visits and provides the ability to share both individual school profiles as well as lists of schools through a variety of avenues. Students can share by email, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn with friends, family, counselors, or college coaches.

  5. Explore other resources. Lastly, the College Scorecard is a central hub for federal resources associated with paying for college. On every school profile, students can access a direct link to a college’s net price calculator and are encouraged to explore different types of financial aid, calculate their potential aid, start their FAFSA, and explore additional benefits such as the G.I. Bill®. By directing students to the College Scorecard for their college search, you are indirectly exposing them to even more federal resources.

Help us to empower students to pursue their academic and career goals through a college education, and support them in finding the institutions that will give them the best chance for success!