Sixty-three percent of recently enrolled and prospective students say they have felt lost when researching college or financial aid options, according to an analysis by New America’s Education Policy Program.
Google cited this statistic on Tuesday when the search engine giant revealed a new tool to help prospective college students searching for the perfect university. Now, when users search for a four-year U.S. college, a panel containing detailed information about the school’s admissions, costs, majors and more will appear. The feature was implemented to make it easier for students to “explore educational options and find a college that meets (their) needs.” Google began rolling out the update for college searches on Tuesday on mobile with some features appearing on desktop as well.
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The new widget provides users with an overview of the college, and from there, users can click through different tabs for a more comprehensive overview of a specific category. For example, users browsing the “Cost” tab of a school’s page can see a breakdown of the average annual cost of the school before and after financial aid, total tuition, other costs — such as books and on-campus room and board — and the average cost by household income.
The feature notably only works for four-year schools, so users searching for data on community colleges will have to do so the traditional way.
Google is pulling most of its data from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. The tech giant also mentioned it worked with education researchers and nonprofit organizations, high school counselors and admissions professionals to further enhance the experience.
The new experience is similar to Google’s current job search feature, which lets users see job listings across major online job boards anytime they enter a job-related query like “software engineer jobs” or “accounting jobs near me.”
Both the job search widget and the new college search widget help centralize the search for job seekers and soon-to-be high school graduates who might be overwhelmed by the volume of information online.
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