State Launches New Interactive Tool to Help Students Choose the Right College

Choosing a college is an important decision that can be overwhelming without the right information. The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), and Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) launched a new collaborative project that makes it easier for students and parents to make an informed college choice.

Unlike third-party college search tools that collect data from the same sources that are often outdated or incomplete, the Illinois Postsecondary Profiles (IPP) project utilizes comprehensive data directly from Illinois higher education state agencies and Illinois’ 160 public and private universities and community colleges.

The IPP is a free resource available to anyone and developed by the Northern Illinois University Illinois Interactive Report Cards division, with support from EdSystems, in collaboration with IBHE, ICCB, and ISAC. To learn more or start searching, visit illinoispostsecondaryprofiles.com.

“We are incredibly excited to give students and families a way to filter, search, and sort the kind of information that is most important to them in choosing a college, including a focus on equity. With the IPP families have information all in one place and know that it is accurate and up to date because it comes from the colleges directly to us as state agencies,” said IBHE Executive Director Ginger Ostro.

Illinois Postsecondary Profiles is completely customizable, starting with three key profiles curated to help group certain types of data points together.

  • Institutional Profiles let you discover the basics: what types of schools are out there, how much they cost, and what credentials they offer. This information is sorted in a clean, readable design that works across any type of smart device or computer.
  • Occupational Profiles let you see what academic majors are available, key employment data, programs of study, and pathways for the kinds of careers you’re interested in.
  • Equity Profiles let you see the kinds of people enrolled and completing credentials at schools, colleges, and universities across Illinois. You can search by age, by race and ethnicity, or even by gender beyond the binary.

“These three profiles work together to create a holistic, nuanced lens for every Illinois-based school. It gives students the ability to look beyond the bullet points and dig deep into metrics that matter so they can make the most informed choices based on what matters to them,” said ICCB Executive Director Brian Durham.

Additionally, IPP can be utilized and highly beneficial for other audiences that impact student success, including high school officials, higher education staff, employers, policymakers, and regional collaboratives.

“ISAC is pleased to partner with our sister agencies on this important tool,” said Executive Director of ISAC Eric Zarnikow. “We are particularly excited about the launch of the tool’s unique Equity Profiles, which can provide valuable information to students and researchers alike in advancing access and equity.”

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