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Trends & Insights

Our in-depth data studies and expert editorials rely on unbiased, proprietary research, data, and careful analysis to add helpful and informative perspectives to the higher education space.

Data Studies

Best schools for graduating with no debt
(that you can actually get into)

These 15 schools result in the lowest debt for students and have at least a 50% acceptance rate

Gen Z and Millennials Are Twice As Likely As Gen X and Baby Boomers to Pick College Based on Prestige

Our survey shows younger generations are twice as likely to choose a college based on prestige than older generations.

Looking to relocate? Here are top 7 states to move to for work

We compared job openings, the number of job seekers, and advertised salaries by state to find the best options for relocating. 

Hispanic-Serving Institutions with the Highest Payoff

Earnings data shows religious schools and universities in Florida and California top the list of HSIs with the highest payoff.

Pandemic Worsened Perennial Teacher Shortages, But No Nationwide Exodus From Education Yet

The exodus of teachers that many thought the pandemic would trigger has yet to happen.

Majors where HBCU grads earn higher than average starting salaries

Data shows that HBCU grads can earn more than average for their field of study in these seven majors.

Pandemic pushes Amazon to #1 largest employer for recent college graduates

Amazon became the largest employer for recent bachelor's grads. Here's a look at the top degrees and most popular jobs for grads at Amazon.

Attention, Class of 2022: These are the top 25 employers for recent grads

We took a look at where 550,000+ recent college graduates worked one year after earning their degree to find out which companies offer the best chances at a job out of college.

25 Best Jesuit Colleges and Universities by Salary Outcomes

Analysis of Jesuit colleges found that their average salary outcomes are stronger than national median salaries

College Majors with the Best First Year Salaries in 2022

Engineering and CIS Lead the Pack, with Other STEM Fields Not Far Behind

Two Years After Economic Shock, Some Sectors Still Can’t Fill Vacancies as U.S. Surpasses 11.5 Million Open Jobs

All private sectors saw higher job vacancy rates in March 2022 vs. March 2020; Mining and logging, manufacturing, education and health, and leisure hurt the most.

The Best Law Schools for Alumni Salary in 2022

College is a significant investment, especially for law students. This list highlights law schools where alumni see the highest starting salaries.

Student Loan Crisis: Gen Z and Millennials Are Three Times More Likely to Enter Into Nearly Insurmountable Debt

As policymakers debate what to do about the student loan crisis, survey data show significant rifts between Gen Z, Millennials, and older generations in their concerns about student loan debt

Lower Cost of Living Makes Midwest Colleges’ Salary Outcomes More Competitive

Expensive states on the coasts lost some of their Salary Score advantages when we overlaid a cost of living index on top of states’ salary outcome scores

AAPI College Choice: The Best Universities for Economic Mobility

These AANAPISI schools offer a higher payoff without limiting access for students

Data show today's environmental science grads have more diverse job prospects

We analyzed employment outcomes for 20,000+ environmental science graduates to find out where today's alumni are finding jobs.

Mental Health Counseling Degrees See Spike Along With Labor Demand

Data shows mental health counseling degrees are seeing increased popularity as demand for more practitioners is projected to grow significantly

Older Generations See College As A Pursuit of Passion, While Younger Ones View It As a Path to the Paper

New survey shows only 29% of Gen Z see college as a way to pursue their passions, while nearly half (49%) see it as a way to maximize earnings, a stark contrast to older generations

The 45 Colleges Where Women Earn More Than Men After Graduation

A look at the four-year colleges whose female graduates are beating the gender pay gap

Looking to Land a Prestigious Job After Your MBA? Here's a Look at the Best Schools

MBAs aren't one size fits all when it comes to outcomes. Using alumni LinkedIn data, we took a look at the MBAs that land graduates in the best jobs in consulting, investment banking, and tech.

Colleges with the Worst Gender Pay Gaps for Graduates

A look at the 21 four-year universities where men earn at least $30,000 more than women after graduation.

Looking to Work at a Top Law Firm? Here are the best schools to get you there

A look at the 10 law schools with the highest rate of graduates working for America’s most prestigious firms.

Nurses With Master's Degrees See Salaries Spike and Opportunities Broaden

Data from over 50,000 early-career BSN graduates and 11,000 MSN graduates shows stark differences in salaries and job opportunities between the two groups

What are the Largest HBCUs?

The 10 largest historically black colleges account for 33% of HBCU students and are located in seven states throughout the Southeast.

What Are the Largest Online Colleges?

We ranked the 25 biggest schools in 2022 by online undergraduate enrollment and show how competitive their graduate salaries are.

HBCUs with the Highest Payoff for Black Students

A look at the 10 HBCUs where alumni see higher median salaries than other Black graduates in the state.

How Do UT Austin and Texas A&M Compare On Alumni Salaries?

A look at how the Longhorns and Aggies historic rivalry plays out when it comes to salary outcomes.

How do Duke, UNC, and NC State Stack Up for Salaries?

A look at which majors at North Carolina’s “Research Triangle” give students the best shot at a competitive salary after graduating

Which Schools Offer the Best Employment Outcomes for Architecture Majors?

Employment data for more than 166,000 architecture graduates highlights the best schools for a job at the top 25 firms in America.

Where do Psychology Majors End Up? Bachelor's vs. Master's Degrees

A bachelor's in psychology can be useful for jobs in healthcare and business, but a master's degree is a better path for landing a job in-field

Consulting Firms Beat Out Banks, Retailers In Hiring Business Grads

Study of nearly 300,000 undergraduate business majors shows consulting firms employ the most graduates five years after receiving their degrees

Where Did the Top Environmental Lawyers Go to College?

A look at the biggest law schools behind the 500 leading environmental attorneys.

Who Is Hiring Florida’s Alumni? It Depends on The School.

Employment outcomes for over 140,000 alumni of Florida colleges show defense, finance, healthcare, education, and tech as top employers of grads

New Data Shows Top Companies Hiring Florida’s Online Grads

Employment outcomes for over 74,000 alumni of Florida colleges show aerospace and defense companies are top employers for online graduates

These schools offer the best chance at a Big Four accounting job

We studied employment outcomes for more than 300,000 alumni to find out which colleges send the highest rate of accounting graduates to the Big Four.

Four-Year Colleges with the Highest Enrollment Growth During COVID-19

While national college enrollment dropped in 2020, online schools saw boosts during COVID-19. New federal data shows which colleges had the highest enrollment growth in fall 2020.

Four-Year Colleges with the Largest Enrollment Declines During COVID-19

New data on fall enrollment for 2020 highlights which universities saw at least a 20% decline during COVID-19

Where do New York's Online Grads Work? Finance Draws 17% of Alumni

New data highlights the biggest employers, industries, and jobs behind the top online colleges for salary in New York.

Who's Hiring Graduates of California's Online Colleges?

A look at the top employers, industries, and jobs for the best online schools in California for salary

Can Online Colleges Offer Competitive Career Outcomes?

Our study investigates salary and employment data for the most popular online schools in the U.S. Learn which schools did best for post-grad outcomes.

Who's Hiring Graduates of Texas Online Colleges?

We found the top employers driving high salaries for alumni of the schools ranked on our list of Best Online Colleges by Salary Score in Texas.

The Online Student Perspective: What are the top-rated online colleges, and what are they doing right?

Alumni reviews reveal important indicators of top-rated online colleges for prospective students.

College in the COVID Era: Students Share What Went Well and How Schools Can Do Better

We conducted a survey in August and early September to find out how the shift to online learning affected students, and how schools could alter their approaches.

The Degrees with the Best ROI During the COVID-19 Recession

Every industry in the world has been impacted by COVID-19. Read more about the degrees with best ROI during a recession.

Higher Ed News & Trends

Student loan forgiveness is a band-aid. What will really solve the problem?

Experts weigh in on what needs to happen to stop tomorrow's students from drowning in debt.

Tribal Colleges and Universities in the United States: What They Are, Who They Serve, and Why They Matter

Today there are 35 Native American tribal colleges across the country. These schools play a critical role in their communities and serve thousands of students each year.

Companies that Pay for College

These companies offer tuition reimbursement or other funding options to help employees advance their education.

Are Strict Pay Transparency Laws Dampening Remote Work Options?

Since the pandemic, more local and state policymakers have passed laws to ensure various levels of pay transparency. Here's what to know.

Companies That Pay for Grad School

These companies offer employee education benefits for master's and, in some cases, doctoral degrees.

Amazon is Top Recruiter of Recent MBA Graduates for Seventh Year, As Big Tech Scoops Up Top Business Talent

Deep-pocketed tech and finance firms are both attempting to attract top-tier MBA graduates.

Reversal of Roe Will Likely Slow Down Decades of Economic Empowerment for Women

Historical labor data and forward-looking econometric models suggest a likely deterioration in various measures of women’s economic well-being and equity.

Refund Checks Late at HBCUs: Must Be (Uncle Sam’s) Money

Deion Sanders asked why refund checks are late at HBCUs. Walter M. Kimbrough, interim executive director of the Black Men's Research Institute at Morehouse College, weighs in.

9 Higher Ed and Career Podcasts We Love

These nine podcasts are our go-to sources for higher ed and labor market trends.

Biden Announces $10,000 Student Loan Relief, Up to $20,000 for Pell Grant Recipients

Borrowers making less than $125,000 per year will be eligible for the new plan, which materialized after months of internal debates.

17 College Terms to Know and Why They Matter

Learn about the most common college terms, what they mean — and why you should know them.

Accessibility 101: Navigating College with a Disability

Experts weigh in on navigating college with a disability, self-advocacy, and finding support on campus.

How Inflation Affects College Students

Inflation is continuing its record-setting run. Here’s how students can weather the increasing costs of attending college.

Financial Aid Letters: Why they're so confusing, and how to read them

Financial aid can be notoriously confusing for students trying to make informed college decisions. We talked with experts about why that is and how you can demystify the process.

Status of Biden's Student Loan Relief Promises to Young Voters

Biden's actions on student loan crisis, from processing backlog of loan forgiveness applications left by Trump, to canceling thousands of dollars in student debt

Is A Nationally Accredited Online Degree Worth It?

For some, a degree from a nationally accredited school is worth the investment of time and money, but students should consider five essential factors.

Which Colleges Serve the Most Adult Students?

Data from the U.S. Department of Education highlights which schools draw the most students over 24 years old

Backed by Millions in Grants, More Colleges Are Training Faculty in “Evidence-Based Instruction”

ACUE, an organization that teaches instructors how to instruct, serves as a potential blueprint for future data-driven interventions in higher education.

“Degree Insurance” Aims to Guarantee Competitive Salaries After Graduation

As tuition prices rise and students grow wary of taking on too much debt, a new concept may help students mitigate the risk of low salary outcomes after graduating.

Which States have the Most HBCUs?

A complete list of historically Black colleges and universities in the U.S. By state.

Data on the 16 Schools Accused in “Price-fixing Cartel”

Facts on the 16 elite schools named in a recent lawsuit that accuses them of breaking antitrust laws and failing to live up to their “need-blind” admissions motto.

The Reason for College Enrollment Declines? A Lack of Information.

The latest college enrollment declines could be resolved by giving prospective students more information about how to avoid student debt.

When to Consider Regional Vs. National Accreditation

Regional and national accreditation are not equivalent. Explore how each might affect your academic future and career path.

Is A Nationally Accredited Online Degree Worth It?

For some, a degree from a nationally accredited school is worth the investment of time and money, but students should consider five essential factors.

Ph.D.s vs. Doctorates - What Sets Them Apart?

A Ph.D. is just one type of doctorate. Explore what sets it apart.

How Long Does It Take To Earn a Doctoral Degree?

Doctorates take multiple years of graduate study to achieve, with most programs lasting an average of 7.5 years.

Which schools land you a job at Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J?

Which schools and majors are most likely to lead to the research labs of vaccine development companies Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna?

Do Colleges Require the COVID-19 Vaccine?

While some colleges do require the COVID-19 vaccine, more than 1,100 across the country don't have a vaccine mandate in place.

The Biggest Problem for Colleges? It May Be Inflation

Rising inflation could be a major issue for colleges over the next few years. Learn about why this is, what history has taught us, and what should be done.

The Rising Popularity of Earning a Degree Online

Learn how online degrees are becoming mainstream and why some college students prefer online learning.

The Benefits of a Psychology Degree

Jenni Jacobsen, professor and licensed social worker, explains how a psychology degree can impact your skills, salary, and career.

Is a Master's in Education Worth It?

Sara Austin, M. Ed, discusses the benefits of earning a master's in education and analyzes how the degree can impact your career, salary, and skills.

Top Five Things to Consider When Looking For an Online School as a Military or Veteran Student

Here are a few things to look for in your school search as a service member or veteran.

Adapt and Adopt: How a Change in Perspective can Help Keep Nontraditional Students Motivated During COVID-19

Clinton Parrilla, an Education Advocate with Northwest Education Access, shares his experiences guiding non-traditional pathway students through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Student Spotlight: Meet our first Online Degree Scholarship winner, Mainhia Ly

2020 Online Degree Scholarship Winner Mainhia Ly on life as a single parent, full-time employee, and online student

COVID-19: Inspiring A New Generation of Healthcare Workers

COVID-19 may be the motivation behind students pursuing healthcare fields and data shows that it’s a smart long-term decision.

Want to get involved this election season? Online students can help get out the vote

While student-led marches across the quad may be off the table, there are many opportunities for students to get involved this election season.

Professor Young’s Tips for Learning From Home

Pacific Lutheran University professor Dr. Amy Young shares online learning tips that will allow you to better center yourself and practice self-care.

The Class of 2020: Optimal’s New Teammates Share Perspectives on Online Learning and Graduating Into a Pandemic

Optimal's newest employees, all members of the class of 2020, share what it was like moving to online education and how they navigated the job search during a pandemic.

COVID-19 FAQs and Resources created this resource to answer the most frequently asked questions about going to college during the coronavirus pandemic.

Is an Online MBA Worth It? Here's What the Data Says

With the growth of online universities and developments in education technology, America’s most popular postgraduate degree, the MBA, is changing.

COVID-19 Economy Has Students Rethinking What – and How – They Study

The coronavirus pandemic has upended education at every level, forcing students across the country to rethink academic plans.