(2015-09-13) College Scorecard Employment Data

Although it abandoned efforts to rate the quality of colleges (College Education), the federal government (Department Of Education) matched data from the federal student Financial Aid system to federal tax returns. The Department of Education was thus able to calculate how much money people who enrolled in individual colleges in 2001 and 2002 were earning 10 years later... Although earnings of college graduates continue to outpace those of non-collegians by a significant margin, at some institutions, the earnings of students 10 years after enrollment are bleak. College Scorecard

But some more well-known institutions weren’t far behind (the dubious diploma-mills). At Bennington College in Vermont, over 48 percent of former students were earning less than $25,000 per year.

The data reveals how much money students are borrowing in exchange for earnings after graduation. While U.C.L.A. and Penn State are both prestigious public research universities, recent U.C.L.A. grads leave with about 30 percent less debt, even as their predecessors are earning about 30 percent more money than counterparts at Penn State.

Some bizarre issues I have with the site:

  • no histograms to give a sense of the spread of values
  • doesn't break down by College Major. In fact, it's misleading: you can search for colleges that offer a particular Major, but all the data is for the overall college. So if you're not careful, you think History majors from MIT make $91k.
    • I suspect this also drives the Gender Pay Gap that the article notes
  • the Average Annual Cost is the average only for people receiving federal aid. So if a relatively small portion of students get that aid, that seems to lower the real cost. On the other hand, I guess the point is that the people not getting aid can afford it?
  • because it tries to look at people who graduated 10yrs ago, some of these scammiest schools have incomplete data. Which is a huge disservice.
  • there's no way to flag schools from different queries then bring all the flagged schools side-by-side on one screen to compare!

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