Can This New Site Help You Pick the Best College for Your Money?

Can This New Site Help You Pick the Best College for Your Money?

The U.S. Department of Education is doling out report cards.

Well, sort of.

Later this summer, it will launch a website to help prospective college students analyze the payoff of a given school’s degree—by sharing data that’s relevant to their bottom line.

Families will be able to comparison shop by reviewing how colleges measure up in 12 categories, including net price, completion rates and alumni earnings, so that they can get the best value for their valedictorian.

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Another factor is a school's accessibility to low-income students, measured by expected family contribution as well as the percentage of the student body that receives Pell Grants, identifies as low- or moderate-income, or is first in their family to attend college.

According to the U.S. Department of Education's official blog, the new website “will provide students with more data than ever before to compare college costs and outcomes. This college ratings tool will take a more consumer-driven approach than some have expected.”

It's a project two years in the making. When first announcing it in 2013, President Obama declared it would “rate [colleges] on who’s offering the best value, so students and taxpayers get a bigger bang for their buck.”

Since then, the administration took a step back from officially ranking schools—an idea that generated some controversy—opting to let families make their own conclusions based on the data.

If you're aiming to score top marks when it comes to making college decisions, get started by studying everything you need to know about 529s.

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