Compared to students at other schools, Northwestern University students pay a lot to attend, but end up with less than average debt and are very unlikely to default on their student loans.

Those are among the data points that can be found on a new federal government website comparing the performance of different schools.

The details for Northwestern:

  • $27,113 was the average net cost of a year at the school, after subtracting financial that doesn’t have to be paid back. That places NU among the most expensive schools in the country.
  • 93.6 percent of full-time undergraduate students received their bachelor’s degree within six years of enrolling — among the best scores in the nation.
  • 1.8 percent of students defaulted on their loans within three years of starting repayment — one of the lowest default rates.
  • $16,979 was the average amount families borrowed to finance an undergraduate education at  NU — somewhat less than the national average.

NU’s scores were slightly better than those for the University of Chicago — which cost slightly more to attend, had a slightly lower graduation rate, and had graduates with slightly higher debt levels and loan default rates.

The most recent cost figures on the website are from 2009. That and other limitations have drawn some criticism.

But the comparisons between top-ranked Chicago-area schools like Northwestern and Chicago and their less-selective counterparts are stark.

Some private non-profit schools in the area charge roughly as much as the top-tier schools, but see only half their students graduate within six years. And the students are often left with more debt and a higher chance of default. State schools tend to cost less, but have unimpressive graduation rates.

And picture for for-profit colleges is frequently far worse.

You can compare the schools that interest you online.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. At least they know they get

    At least they know they get their degrees. This is so very much more important for any student. Regardless of the loans and the money, because those are temporary.

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