AIR-supported ionMatch college search engine compares cost of education and salary after graduation.

college-engine-careerA new college search engine aims to help students sift through thousands of colleges to find the right school for them based on field of study, budget, test scores, desired income, and other criteria.

The new search engine, called ionMatch, is designed by Iontuition, Inc, (iontuition.com) and will further what the company says is a focus on helping students consider tuition and other expenses when selecting a college. ionMatch tries to remove the guesswork from the college search process with this first step that will culminate in an ROI index.

The tool will continue to evolve into a resource that provides actionable insight into the value of all postsecondary degrees including the often overlooked benefits of a skills-based education.

“Students need and deserve tools, like ionMatch, that will help ensure that the time and money they spend pursuing a college degree or credential is worth it,” said Mark S. Schneider, vice president and institute fellow at American Institutes for Research (AIR).

Young people beginning a college search, along with their families and counselors, can use ionMatch to get a realistic picture of university expenses and learn how to reduce their financial burden. Unlike other college comparison websites, ionMatch is completely data-driven and features unbiased information about institutions nationwide.

Students can easily filter colleges and universities in the U.S. by degree type, field of study, location, estimated post-graduation income—using real-world salary data—and more.

“After many years working in higher education, I know that students and parents need greater information to help them understand the true costs and benefits of their college choices,” said Bronte Jones, Ceannate advisory board member and vice president for finance and administration at Dickinson. “ionMatch provides a user-friendly and comprehensive database that allows families to compare multiple higher education options, while understanding the costs and benefits those options provide.”

(Next page: New data provided; budget challenges)

New survey data, compiled by iontuition’s partner, Credit Sesame, sheds light on the ways in which tuition and student loan debt are shifting attitudes toward college. A poll of 500 college graduates found that over 25 percent of Millennial survey respondents attended a university where the tuition was $25k or more, compared to only 6 percent of Gen X. By contrast, half of Gen X respondents paid less than $10k a year at their university.

With rising tuition and looming debt, 33 percent of Millennials admitted to choosing a major that would result in a higher salary and make them better equipped to pay off student loans, compared to just 14 percent of Gen X. And yet, 76 percent of Millennials still believe college is worth the steep price tag, compared to 68 percent of Gen X.

“Without a doubt, college is one of the biggest budgetary challenges families face,” said Balaji “Raj” Rajan, CEO of Ceannate Corp. “Our efforts will continue to create transparency into post-secondary education costs and provide tools to help students and families manage repayment after they graduate.”

iontuition.com also offers a student loan management dashboard and a financial literacy library that are completely mobile optimized. A loan payment engine and collaborative social network for students and their families will be added to the website soon.

Click here for ionMatch.

About the Author:

Meris Stansbury

Meris Stansbury is the Editorial Director for both eSchool News and eCampus News, and was formerly the Managing Editor of eCampus News. Before working at eSchool Media, Meris worked as an assistant editor for The World and I, an online curriculum publication. She graduated from Kenyon College in 2006 with a BA in English, and enjoys spending way too much time either reading or cooking.


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