Education Department releases wage, debt data for specific college majors

The Education Department released information for the first time Wednesday detailing the median debt and earnings for specific programs at colleges and universities across the country. 

Previously, users of the department’s College Scorecard could only see the median earnings and median debt for all graduates of a given school one year after their graduation date. Now, students or those preparing to attend a higher education institution can see program-specific information. For example, a student could research whether engineering majors at one school or another graduate with higher amounts of debt, or whether the graduates of the English language program or the nursing program at one school receive greater monthly earnings one year after graduation.

In a Wednesday statement, Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosDemocratic lawmaker tears into DeVos: You're 'out to destroy public education' Democrats lash out at DeVos over proposed changes to loan forgiveness plan The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday MORE said the College Scorecard website provides “real information students need to make informed, personalized decisions about their education.”

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“Students will be able to see if a career and technical education program at a two-year institution might generate a higher return on investment than a more traditional program at a four-year institution. Rather than having to rely on reputation-based rankings, the Scorecard will also allow students to choose a program based on the outcomes of students who have already completed that program,” DeVos said.

The department said the move provides greater transparency for students because “previously, Scorecard users could only see the median earnings and median debt at the institutional level, which is a fairly meaningless metric given the diversity of programs and outcomes at any given single school.”

The updated list also now includes data from all students at an institution, including transfer and part-time students.

The information was not complete for every school listed on the site Wednesday. 

Under the Obama administration, similar information was published about for-profit colleges, according to The Associated Press. DeVos promised to publish the information for all schools.