About the data

The data used on this site is publicly available via the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard. For our rankings, we've filtered public and private (for-profit and nonprofit) schools with at least 1,000 students that predominantly award bachelor or graduate degrees.

The values for the following metrics are presented exactly as the latest available data points in the public database:

  • Salary (median earnings of students working and not enrolled 10 years after entry)
  • Outcomes vs high-school graduates (share of students earning more than a high school graduate 6 years after entry, suppressed for small n size)
  • Cost (average cost of attendance, academic year institutions)
  • Federal loans (percent of all undergraduate students receiving a federal student loan)
  • Student count (enrollment of undergraduate certificate/degree-seeking students)
  • Admission rate
  • Completion rate (Completion rate for first-time, full-time students at four-year institutions ,200% of expected time to completion)

Break-even metric and rankings

The break-even metric is an estimation of the time it will take for the graduate's salary to add up to the total cost of attending the school, assuming it takes them 4 years to graduate and they start working immediately.

The break-even calculation doesn't consider other common costs you'll have post-graduation (e.g. living expenses or loan interest payments), so it should be considered an extremely optimistic scenario — it will likely take considerably longer for people to turn a profit on the cost of college.