The cost of college tuition and related enrollment fees at different universities has been fairly transparent for awhile, but up until now data on the earnings of the schools' students after they graduate has been difficult to find.
Over the weekend, President Barack Obama unveiled a new data search website with information on every college and university in the country, including the average earnings of graduates 10 years after they receive bachelor's degrees.
"College costs and student debt keep rising, and choices that Americans make while searching for and selecting a college have never been more important," Obama said in a video released by the White House. "That's why everyone should be able to find clear, reliable, open data on college affordability and value, like whether they're likely to graduate, find good jobs, pay off their student loans. "
The new website, called College Scorecard, can break down the data by state to help in-state students narrow down their choices.
Out of 131 institutions of higher education in Illinois, Rush University comes out on top for highest earnings post-graduation. Graduates from this Chicago university earn an average of $74,300 10 years after they receive their diplomas.
College Scorecard lists only 121 undergraduate students at Rush, and those students all earn degrees related to health and medicine.
The top 10 universities in Illinois with the highest paid graduates are, in order:
Rush University — $74,300
Illinois Institute of Technology — $68,200
Northwestern University — $64,100
University of Chicago — $62,800
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign — $56,600
Chamberlain College of Nursing-Illinois — $56,300
Saint Anthony College of Nursing — $54,900
Illinois Wesleyan University — $54,600
University of Phoenix-Chicago Campus — $53,400
Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing — $52,900
The state's colleges and universities with the lowest earning graduates include many trade schools and community colleges. Among these schools are Heartland Community College ($27,900), Harry S. Truman College ($27,100), American Academy of Art ($26,700), International Academy of Design and Technology-Chicago ($25,200), Madison Media Institute-Rockford Career College ($22,800) and East-West University ($22,300).
The schools with the highest earning graduates in the entire country include many elite and Ivy League institutions, not surprisingly. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ranks No. 6 with graduates' average salaries at $91,600, and Harvard isn't too far behind with average earnings of $87,200.
The university claiming the top spot in the whole nation is SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, whose graduates earn an average of $121,500 10 years after they receive their diplomas.
College Scorecard also contains data on tuition costs, financial aid, student debt, graduation and retention and average SAT/ACT scores.