This site calculates whether your college is worth attending

So, how do you quantify the value of a college education? An education has always been one of those nebulous things that people and institutions tell you is important, but you’re never quite able to mathematically quantify. Sure, there are official lists that tell us which colleges are the “best” colleges. And we’ve got some statistics and testimonials to give us an overall picture. But one question that is hard to be answer is whether a college is worth attending.

But never fear, the government aims to clear that up to help future students and horrify those of us who have already graduated.

Over the weekend, the U.S. Department of Education launched the College Scorecard website. It lets prospective students (and those who’ve already graduated and aren’t afraid to cringe) search by individual college, location or major to see what the return on their education might be.

Using the metrics of cost, financial aid, percentage of students who graduate and what alumni earn, you can find out if your college degree is paying for itself or simply a load of debt you can’t reasonably expect to repay.

Slate report that this is a change from the government’s original game plan to rank every college in the country based on similar metrics. This also marks the first time there has been official data like this released for schools, previous services are based on self-reported data that may not be reliable, especially in the case of for-profit universities.

So, how does one use College Scorecard? You simply type in the school you’re looking for —or the major, location, or size you’ve got in mind.

Here’s what happens when we type in “University of California, Los Angeles”:

Here’s NYU’s results:

Curious how your alma mater scores? Find out here.

(Images via Shutterstock,