Our College Results Online web tool has been updated with new data and a few new, important variables that can help students and families weigh the investment in a college degree against the return expected down the road. The new variables are:

Ten-year post-enrollment earnings. In the past, prospective and current students had access to very little information about how much they can expect to earn after graduation, but the recent release of post-enrollment earnings data from the federal government is helping to fill the long-standing gap in information for students. College Results Online now includes the median salary for students who enrolled at each institution in 2001-02.

The percentage of students earning more than $25,000 per year 10 years after enrolling. While median earnings tell us a lot, they don’t tell us about the lowest earners. Research shows that college graduates, on average, earn more over their lifetimes than high school graduates, whose average earnings are about $25,000 per year. However students who enroll in poor-quality colleges where they learn very little, gain few skills, or leave without a degree are unlikely to experience these higher earnings.

The median federal student loan debt for graduates. Rapid increases in the cost of going to college are far outpacing increases in family income, especially for low-income families. This widening gap in college affordability is leading today’s college students to collect more debt than ever before. College Results Online now shows the median federal loan debt for graduates, which we hope can steer students toward more affordable institutions. (Because average student loan debt may be more heavily impacted by extremes, the median federal loan debt is provided.)

The loan repayment rate of students five years after leaving. One commonly used indicator of whether a college student has successfully secured employment after graduation is loan repayment rate, which shows the proportion of student loan borrowers who have not defaulted on their federal loans and who are actively paying down the principal balance. In the absence of better data to accurately measure the quality of education a student receives, the loan repayment rate is the best proxy we currently have because it provides insight into students’ ability to find and keep a job that enables them to repay their student loan debt.

In addition to this new information on student financial outcomes, be sure to check out the updated data on graduation rates, net price, and much more!