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Data to help cover economic angles in higher ed

September 28, 2015

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Photo of Keble College, Oxford from Dimitry B. on Flickr

Do you cover higher education? Here are some ways to cover business angles in education.

College Scorecard

College Scorecard is a brand-new website created by the Obama administration that contains data and statistics on degree-granting institutions that receive federal funding.

The interactive site will show you the average earnings of a school’s graduates, its graduation rates and the cost of tuition, all while comparing these statistics against averages for the same type of institutions nationwide.

With these resources, you could analyze how effective certain schools are in preparing their students for a financially successful future.

How does the average debt of students compare with their average salaries following graduation? How does that compare to comparable schools? How likely are students to pay their student loan debt?

Federal Student Aid Data Center

The Federal Student Aid Data Center is an office of the U.S. Department of Education that collects hordes of useful data on education.

In it, you can find default rates sortable by school, lender and institution type; FAFSA application volume at every school; information on gainful employment of graduates; and more.

Using this data you could look into questions such as, Do certain schools attract more FAFSA applications? How does that compare with the default rate of the schools? Do those statistics have any correlation with the employment rate for students post-graduation?

National Center for Education Statistics

The National Center for Education Statistics’ Datalab has some great databases for you to pore over. What makes this site special, however, is that it allows you to extract only the data that you want to obtain using drag-and-drop interfaces. For example, in just seconds I created a table that showed how much money graduate students made on average while working when they were enrolled in school.

If you open a free account with the NCES, you gain access to even more expansive databases and online training modules that teach you how to use their tools.


Data.gov is a government website that includes more than 300 data sets about education, some of which pertain to higher ed. For example, the data sets include federal student loan program data and post-secondary educational institution statistics (students enrolled, budget and expenses, employment information, etc.).


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