Obama's College Scorecard Can Help You Choose the Right School

If you haven't heard about President Obama's new College Scorecard, you might want to take a closer look. The administration compiled data from the Treasury, the IRS and the Department of Education, looking at records of some 7,000 schools going back 18 years. This data has provided a ton of information about the prices and benefits of different colleges—For example, last week we saw that there's still a huge gender wage gap for graduates of Ivy League Schools.

But there are so many ways to analyze these numbers, and it can get overwhelming. NPR asked three higher education experts—Peter Cappelli, a professor at UPenn's Wharton Business School, Anthony Carnevale of the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce and Amy Laitinen at the New America Foundation—to help weigh all this information. The result? Three lists of rankings that let you know how your school stacks up in terms of post-grad wages, affordability and promoting upward mobility. Pretty interesting to see how the rankings change depending on what criteria you use.

So which schools came out on top? Below are the top five schools listed in each of the three categories.

Schools That Make You Money

Graduates of these schools were making plenty of money a decade after graduation.

  1. Harvard University
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  3. Princeton University
  4. Stanford University
  5. Babson College

Schools That Make Financial Sense

At these schools, very few students had to default on their student loans. 

  1. Duke University
  2. University of Pennsylvania
  3. Stanford University
  4. Georgetown University
  5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Schools That Emphasize Upward Mobility

These schools did the best to help low-income and first-generation students survive and thrive in and after college.

  1. Harvard University
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  3. Stanford University
  4. University of California-Irvine
  5. California State University - Stanislaus

It wasn't much of a shock that Harvard University won two out of the three rankings, but some of the other schools mentioned (Babson College in Wellesley, MA and California State University in Stanislaus) are somewhat surprising considering their relatively obscure status in the national conversation. Just goes to show that there's no such thing as the BEST college—it all depends on what you're looking for.

To take a closer look at these lists and how they were created, check out the original NPR article. If you want to see your school and the statistics surrounding it, go to the College Scorecard website. This is important information, so we know you're just dying to look!