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White House helps you find the right college through open data

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It's more than a little late to choose which college to attend this fall, but the White House might have the tools you need to make an informed decision next year. It just launched a redesigned College Scorecard website that relies on open data (a big deal in government these days) to help you evaluate schools, whether you're a future student or a researcher. You can not only find out which colleges produce the most successful graduates, but also the typical debt loads, average SAT scores for newcomers and other factors that aren't always easy to track down. You can even drill down to very specific criteria, such as students who received Pell grants.

The data is wending its way to private services, too, such as College Abacus' financial aid calculator, PayScale's salary databases and ProPublica's non-profit newsroom. Whichever site you use, the hope is that this open data helps you cut the middleman out of your education choices. Instead of trusting an outside firm that might skew its ratings, you decide what's important. No, you probably don't want to rely solely on the College Scorecard (this is a life-changing decision, after all), but it's hard to knock a big additional source of information.

[Image credit: Shutterstock]

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