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2021 Best Associate's Degree Trade Schools

794 Schools Ranked
$15,315 Avg Tuition & Fees*
$17,566 Avg Student Debt

Today's trade school students have lots of options to pick from when considering higher education opportunities. You can choose a traditional brick and mortar school, or with the growth of online education, you can attend a school half-way across the country without even leaving your house.

The Best Associate's Degree Trade Schools ranking is one of many tools that Trade College Search has developed to help you make your educational decision. This report analyzed 794 schools in the United States to see which ones offered the best associate's degree programs for trade school students.

View our full ranking methodology.

Top Trade Associate's Degree Schools in the United States

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

Stanbridge University

Irvine, California
$25,649 Avg Student Debt

Our 2021 rankings named Stanbridge University the best school in the United States for trade school students working on their associate’s degree.

On average, associate’s degree students take out $25,649 in loans while pursuing their degree.

Online courses are available at Stanbridge, but you will need to check with the school to see if they are available for your field of interest. In fact, around 2% of the undergraduate population registered for at least one online class in 2017-2018.

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#2

Bismarck State College

Bismarck, North Dakota
$4,160 Average Tuition & Fees
$13,754 Avg Student Debt

A rank of #2 on this year’s list means Bismarck State College is a great place for trade school students working on their associate’s degree.

The average in-state tuition and fees for students at BSC is $4,160. Out-of-state students pay an average of $5,820. By the time they get their associate’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $13,754 in student loans.

BSC does offer online classes for certain degree levels. During the 2017-2018 year, about 65% of the undergraduates at the school took at least one online course.

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#3

Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts

San Mateo, California
$16,604 Avg Student Debt

Out of the 794 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts landed the # 3 spot on the list.

By the time they get their associate’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $16,604 in student loans.

Some students may be able to take online classes at Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts. To give an idea of how popular online courses are at the school, 19% of undergraduates took at least one course online in 2017-2018.

Read full report on Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts

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#4

Loma Linda University

Loma Linda, California
$35,180 Average Tuition & Fees
$15,705 Avg Student Debt

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Loma Linda University. It ranked #4 on our 2021 Best Associate’s Degree Trade Schools list.

If you want to attend Loma Linda University, expect to pay an average of $35,180 in tuition and fees. Of course, this could be reduced if you receive financial aid. On average, associate’s degree students take out $15,705 in loans while pursuing their degree.

One thing to take note of is that Loma Linda University does offer online classes in some areas. To give an idea of how popular online courses are at the school, 35% of undergraduates took at least one course online in 2017-2018.

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#5

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester, New York
$44,695 Average Tuition & Fees
$16,904 Avg Student Debt

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend Rochester Institute of Technology. The school came in at #5 on this year’s Best Associate’s Degree Trade Schools list.

If you want to attend RIT, expect to pay an average of $44,695 in tuition and fees. Of course, this could be reduced if you receive financial aid. On average, associate’s degree students take out $16,904 in loans while pursuing their degree.

One thing to take note of is that RIT does offer online classes in some areas. To give an idea of how popular online courses are at the school, 15% of undergraduates took at least one course online in 2017-2018.

Full Rochester Institute of Technology Report

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#6

Lee College

Baytown, Texas
$3,762 Average Tuition & Fees
$11,501 Avg Student Debt

Lee College landed the #6 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best associate’s degree trade school programs.

Students from Texas who attend Lee College full time pay an average of $3,762 in tuition and fees. If you are from out of state, expect to pay an average of $4,302. By the time they get their associate’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $11,501 in student loans.

Some students may be able to take online classes at Lee College. During the 2017-2018 year, about 22% of the undergraduates at the school took at least one online course.

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#7

Ranken Technical College

Saint Louis, Missouri
$14,889 Average Tuition & Fees
$14,755 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #7, Ranken Technical College did quite well on this year’s best schools for trade school students working on their associate’s degree.

Ranken Technical College does not offer a discount to in-state students, so the average tuition and fees for all undergraduates is $14,889. This amount may be reduced if you receive financial aid. By the time they get their associate’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $14,755 in student loans.

If you are interested in distance education, be sure to check with the school since Ranken Technical College does offer online classes for certain majors. During the 2017-2018 year, about 45% of the undergraduates at the school took at least one online course.

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#8

Excelsior College

Albany, New York
$8,094 Avg Student Debt

Excelsior College landed the #8 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best associate’s degree trade school programs.

On average, associate’s degree students take out $8,094 in loans while pursuing their degree.

Since Excelsior College is primarily an online school, it is an excellent choice for undergraduate students who need more flexibility than what is offered at some other schools.

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#9

Lake Area Technical Institute

Watertown, South Dakota
$5,514 Average Tuition & Fees
$13,442 Avg Student Debt

Lake Area Technical Institute ranked #9 on this year’s Best Associate’s Degree Trade Schools list.

LATI does not offer a discount to in-state students, so the average tuition and fees for all undergraduates is $5,514. This amount may be reduced if you receive financial aid. By the time they get their associate’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $13,442 in student loans.

One thing to take note of is that LATI does offer online classes in some areas. During the 2017-2018 year, about 32% of the undergraduates at the school took at least one online course.

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#10

Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology

Lancaster, Pennsylvania
$8,250 Average Tuition & Fees
$8,831 Avg Student Debt

Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology ranked #10 on this year’s Best Associate’s Degree Trade Schools list.

The average tuition and fees at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology is $8,250. In-state students do not receive a discount, however you may be able to reduce your price if you receive financial aid. On average, associate’s degree students take out $8,831 in loans while pursuing their degree.

Full Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology Report

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#11

Oregon Institute of Technology

Klamath Falls, Oregon
$10,485 Average Tuition & Fees
$19,029 Avg Student Debt

Oregon Institute of Technology came in at #11 in this year’s edition of the Best Associate’s Degree Trade Schools ranking.

The average in-state tuition and fees for students at OIT is $10,485. If you are from out of state, expect to pay an average of $29,637. On average, associate’s degree students take out $19,029 in loans while pursuing their degree.

OIT does have options available for those who want to take online classes. You will need to check with the school to see if they are available for your specific major. In fact, around 29% of the undergraduate population registered for at least one online class in 2017-2018.

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$11,350 Average Tuition & Fees
$18,552 Avg Student Debt

Jefferson College of Health Sciences ranked #12 on this year’s Best Associate’s Degree Trade Schools list.

Full-time students from Virginia pay an average of $11,350 in tuition and fees if they choose to attend Jefferson College of Health Sciences. If you are from out of state, expect to pay an average of $23,432. On average, associate’s degree students take out $18,552 in loans while pursuing their degree.

Depending on your major, you may be able to take online classes at Jefferson College of Health Sciences. In 2017-2018 about 75% of the undergraduate students at the school chose to take one or more online courses.

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#13

St Catherine University

Saint Paul, Minnesota
$33,216 Average Tuition & Fees
$23,250 Avg Student Debt

St Catherine University came in at #13 in this year’s edition of the Best Associate’s Degree Trade Schools ranking.

If you want to attend St. Kate’s, expect to pay an average of $33,216 in tuition and fees. Of course, this could be reduced if you receive financial aid. Associate’s Degree recipients from St. Kate’s accumulate an average of $23,250 in student debt by the time they complete their degree.

St. Kate’s does have options available for those who want to take online classes. You will need to check with the school to see if they are available for your specific major. In 2017-2018 about 37% of the undergraduate students at the school chose to take one or more online courses.

Full St Catherine University Report

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#14

Cabarrus College of Health Sciences

Concord, North Carolina
$13,574 Average Tuition & Fees
$17,812 Avg Student Debt

Cabarrus College of Health Sciences came in at #14 in this year’s edition of the Best Associate’s Degree Trade Schools ranking.

If you want to attend Cabarrus College of Health Sciences, expect to pay an average of $13,574 in tuition and fees. Of course, this could be reduced if you receive financial aid. On average, associate’s degree students take out $17,812 in loans while pursuing their degree.

Cabarrus College of Health Sciences does have options available for those who want to take online classes. You will need to check with the school to see if they are available for your specific major. In fact, around 59% of the undergraduate population registered for at least one online class in 2017-2018.

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$15,132 Average Tuition & Fees
$20,412 Avg Student Debt

Baptist Health System School of Health Professions did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for trade school students to get an associate’s degree. It came in at #15 on the list.

If you want to attend Baptist Health System School of Health Professions, expect to pay an average of $15,132 in tuition and fees. Of course, this could be reduced if you receive financial aid. On average, associate’s degree students take out $20,412 in loans while pursuing their degree.

Online courses are available at Baptist Health System School of Health Professions, but you will need to check with the school to see if they are available for your field of interest. During the 2017-2018 year, about 93% of the undergraduates at the school took at least one online course.

Full Baptist Health System School of Health Professions Report

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#16

Riverside College of Health Careers

Newport News, Virginia
$12,674 Average Tuition & Fees
$14,276 Avg Student Debt

Riverside College of Health Careers came in at #16 in this year’s edition of the Best Associate’s Degree Trade Schools ranking.

If you want to attend Riverside College of Health Careers, expect to pay an average of $12,674 in tuition and fees. Of course, this could be reduced if you receive financial aid. By the time they get their associate’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $14,276 in student loans.

Full Riverside College of Health Careers Report

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$8,297 Average Tuition & Fees
$19,226 Avg Student Debt

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences came in at #17 in this year’s edition of the Best Associate’s Degree Trade Schools ranking.

In-state students pay an average of $8,297 in tuition and fees if they attend UAMS full time. If you are from out of state, expect to pay an average of $16,145. On average, associate’s degree students take out $19,226 in loans while pursuing their degree.

UAMS does offer online classes for certain degree levels. To give an idea of how popular online courses are at the school, 47% of undergraduates took at least one course online in 2017-2018.

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$6,240 Average Tuition & Fees
$10,466 Avg Student Debt

Northwest Iowa Community College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for trade school students to get an associate’s degree. It came in at #18 on the list.

Full-time students from Iowa pay an average of $6,240 in tuition and fees if they choose to attend Northwest Iowa Community College. Those students who come from outside the state pay an average of $6,540. By the time they get their associate’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $10,466 in student loans.

You may have the opportunity to take online classes at Northwest Iowa Community College. In fact, around 61% of the undergraduate population registered for at least one online class in 2017-2018.

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#19

Eastwick College-Ramsey

Ramsey, New Jersey
$15,990 Average Tuition & Fees
$17,331 Avg Student Debt

Eastwick College-Ramsey landed the #19 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best associate’s degree trade school programs.

Eastwick College-Ramsey does not offer a discount to in-state students, so the average tuition and fees for all undergraduates is $15,990. This amount may be reduced if you receive financial aid. Associate’s Degree recipients from Eastwick College-Ramsey accumulate an average of $17,331 in student debt by the time they complete their degree.

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#20

Ferris State University

Big Rapids, Michigan
$12,376 Average Tuition & Fees
$20,769 Avg Student Debt

Ferris State University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for trade school students to get an associate’s degree. It came in at #20 on the list.

The average tuition and fees at Ferris is $12,376. In-state students do not receive a discount, however you may be able to reduce your price if you receive financial aid. By the time they get their associate’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $20,769 in student loans.

One thing to take note of is that Ferris does offer online classes in some areas. To give an idea of how popular online courses are at the school, 28% of undergraduates took at least one course online in 2017-2018.

Read full report on Ferris State University

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#21

Pennsylvania State University - Dubois

DuBois, Pennsylvania
$13,710 Average Tuition & Fees
$20,609 Avg Student Debt

Pennsylvania State University - Dubois ranked #21 on this year’s Best Associate’s Degree Trade Schools list.

Full-time students from Pennsylvania pay an average of $13,710 in tuition and fees if they choose to attend Penn State DuBois. If you are from out of state, expect to pay an average of $22,302. By the time they get their associate’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $20,609 in student loans.

One thing to take note of is that Penn State DuBois does offer online classes in some areas. Of all the undergraduates enrolled at the school during the 2017-2018 academic year, around 32% took at least some of their classes online.

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#22

Southeast Technical Institute

Sioux Falls, South Dakota
$6,448 Average Tuition & Fees
$15,376 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #22, Southeast Technical Institute did quite well on this year’s best schools for trade school students working on their associate’s degree.

The average tuition and fees at Southeast Technical Institute is $6,448. In-state students do not receive a discount, however you may be able to reduce your price if you receive financial aid. Associate’s Degree recipients from Southeast Technical Institute accumulate an average of $15,376 in student debt by the time they complete their degree.

Online courses are available at Southeast Technical Institute, but you will need to check with the school to see if they are available for your field of interest. During the 2017-2018 year, about 38% of the undergraduates at the school took at least one online course.

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#23

North Dakota State College of Science

Wahpeton, North Dakota
$5,317 Average Tuition & Fees
$13,061 Avg Student Debt

North Dakota State College of Science ranked #23 on this year’s Best Associate’s Degree Trade Schools list.

The average in-state tuition and fees for students at North Dakota State College of Science is $5,317. Those students who come from outside the state pay an average of $6,222. On average, associate’s degree students take out $13,061 in loans while pursuing their degree.

Online courses are available at North Dakota State College of Science, but you will need to check with the school to see if they are available for your field of interest. During the 2017-2018 year, about 76% of the undergraduates at the school took at least one online course.

Read full report on North Dakota State College of Science

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#24

Dunwoody College of Technology

Minneapolis, Minnesota
$23,096 Average Tuition & Fees
$16,661 Avg Student Debt

Dunwoody College of Technology landed the #24 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best associate’s degree trade school programs.

If you want to attend Dunwoody College of Technology, expect to pay an average of $23,096 in tuition and fees. Of course, this could be reduced if you receive financial aid. By the time they get their associate’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $16,661 in student loans.

Dunwoody College of Technology does offer online classes for certain degree levels. During the 2017-2018 year, about 24% of the undergraduates at the school took at least one online course.

Full Dunwoody College of Technology Report

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#25

University of the Incarnate Word

San Antonio, Texas
$32,576 Average Tuition & Fees

University of the Incarnate Word came in at #25 in this year’s edition of the Best Associate’s Degree Trade Schools ranking.

If you don’t receive financial aid, you can expect a bill for $32,576 to cover tuition and fees at UIW. The school does not offer an in-state discount.

Some students may be able to take online classes at UIW. In fact, around 23% of the undergraduate population registered for at least one online class in 2017-2018.

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Rest of the Top 50 Best Trade Associate's Degree Schools in the United States

Not only did these schools make the top 50 list, but they also landed in the top 15% of this year’s ranking:

#26

Clarkson College

Omaha, Nebraska
#27

Shoreline Community College

Shoreline, Washington
#28

Santa Fe College

Gainesville, Florida
#30

Vermont Technical College

Randolph, Vermont
#31

Foothill College

Los Altos Hills, California
#32

River Valley Community College

Claremont, New Hampshire
#33

Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences

Lancaster, Pennsylvania
#34

Rasmussen College - Florida

Ocala, Florida
#35

Pennsylvania College of Technology

Williamsport, Pennsylvania
#36

Sheridan College

Sheridan, Wyoming
#38

Harcum College

Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
#40

New River Community College

Dublin, Virginia
#41

Napa Valley College

Napa, California
#43

Central Penn College

Summerdale, Pennsylvania
#46

Casa Loma College-Van Nuys

Van Nuys, California
#48

California University of Pennsylvania

California, Pennsylvania
#49

Mercy College of Health Sciences

Des Moines, Iowa
#50

University of Alaska Anchorage

Anchorage, Alaska

Rest of the Top 15% Best Trade Associate's Degree Schools in the United States

To learn more about the schools below, just click on their names:

Rank School Location
51 Fox Valley Technical College Appleton, WI
52 Bryan University Tempe, AZ
53 Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Fennimore, WI
54 Bay State College Boston, MA
55 Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health Omaha, NE
56 Fox College Bedford Park, IL
57 Saddleback College Mission Viejo, CA
58 Bellevue College Bellevue, WA
59 Keiser University - Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL
60 Mohawk Valley Community College Utica, NY
61 Johnson County Community College Overland Park, KS
62 Hutchinson Community College Hutchinson, KS
63 Adventist University of Health Sciences Orlando, FL
64 Weatherford College Weatherford, TX
65 Farmingdale State College Farmingdale, NY
66 Rasmussen College - Minnesota St. Cloud, MN
67 Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology Okmulgee, OK
68 Santa Rosa Junior College Santa Rosa, CA
69 Rasmussen College - North Dakota Fargo, ND
70 Mitchell Technical Institute Mitchell, SD
71 ITI Technical College Baton Rouge, LA
72 Southeast Community College Area Lincoln, NE
73 Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, MN
74 Nassau Community College Garden City, NY
75 NHTI-Concord’s Community College Concord, NH
76 Mercy College of Ohio Toledo, OH
77 Rasmussen College - Wisconsin Green Bay, WI
78 New England Institute of Technology East Greenwich, RI
79 Weber State University Ogden, UT
80 County College of Morris Randolph, NJ
81 River Parishes Community College Gonzales, LA
82 University of Akron Main Campus Akron, OH
83 Newman University Wichita, KS
84 Anoka Technical College Anoka, MN
85 Rock Valley College Rockford, IL
86 Cuesta College San Luis Obispo, CA
87 Rasmussen College - Illinois Rockford, IL
88 Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester, MN
89 Elizabethtown Community and Technical College Elizabethtown, KY
90 Prince George’s Community College Largo, MD
91 Carrington College-Sacramento Sacramento, CA
92 Chippewa Valley Technical College Eau Claire, WI
93 Carrington College-Boise Boise, ID
94 Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Cincinnati, OH
95 North Central Kansas Technical College Beloit, KS
96 Lehigh Carbon Community College Schnecksville, PA
97 St Cloud Technical and Community College Saint Cloud, MN
98 Rowan College at Gloucester County Sewell, NJ
99 Ridgewater College Willmar, MN
100 Western Technical College La Crosse, WI
101 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
102 Herzing University - Akron Akron, OH
103 Middlesex Community College Bedford, MA
104 Eastwick College-Nutley Nutley, NJ
105 Siena Heights University Adrian, MI
106 Waukesha County Technical College Pewaukee, WI
107 Indiana University - Purdue University - Fort Wayne Fort Wayne, IN
108 Bowling Green State University-Firelands Huron, OH
109 Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology Flushing, NY
110 William Rainey Harper College Palatine, IL
111 Alvin Community College Alvin, TX
112 University of Saint Francis - Fort Wayne Fort Wayne, IN
113 Concorde Career College-Garden Grove Garden Grove, CA
114 Lakeshore Technical College Cleveland, WI
115 Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN
116 Johnson College Scranton, PA
117 University of Cincinnati - Clermont College Batavia, OH
118 Kansas City Kansas Community College Kansas City, KS
119 Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Shell Lake, WI
120 SOWELA Technical Community College Lake Charles, LA

Honorable Mentions

These schools also performed well in our best trade schools ranking:

Rank School Location
121 Herzing University - Birmingham Birmingham, AL
122 Century College White Bear Lake, MN
123 South College Knoxville, TN
124 Washburn University Topeka, KS
125 Pima Medical Institute-Mesa Mesa, AZ
126 GateWay Community College Phoenix, AZ
127 Herzing University - Madison Madison, WI
128 Victoria College Victoria, TX
129 Kapiolani Community College Honolulu, HI
130 Kaplan University-Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN
131 CUNY Hostos Community College Bronx, NY
132 Dakota County Technical College Rosemount, MN
133 Herzing University - Atlanta Atlanta, GA
134 Victor Valley College Victorville, CA
135 Kent State University at Ashtabula Ashtabula, OH
136 Hennepin Technical College Brooklyn Park, MN
137 Pittsburgh Technical College Oakdale, PA
138 Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Green Bay, WI
139 Tri-County Technical College Pendleton, SC
140 Triangle Tech Inc-Greensburg Greensburg, PA
141 Ultimate Medical Academy-Clearwater Clearwater, FL
142 Del Mar College Corpus Christi, TX
143 Bradford School Columbus, OH
144 Ohio Technical College Cleveland, OH
145 Manchester Community College Manchester, CT
146 Harrisburg Area Community College Harrisburg, PA
147 Central Lakes College-Brainerd Brainerd, MN
148 Middlesex County College Edison, NJ
149 Concorde Career College-North Hollywood North Hollywood, CA
150 Northwest Kansas Technical College Goodland, KS
151 Northcentral Technical College Wausau, WI
152 Texas State Technical College Waco, TX
153 Hallmark University San Antonio, TX
154 Casper College Casper, WY
155 Hudson Valley Community College Troy, NY
156 Suffolk County Community College Selden, NY
157 City College of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
158 Bristol Community College Fall River, MA
159 Southern Illinois University Carbondale Carbondale, IL

Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • Read more about our ranking methodology.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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