Illinois State University has received high marks from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard. The report, released this fall, shows that Illinois State exceeds the national average in key areas such as graduation rate and alumni salaries.

The College Scorecard, a project promoted by President Barack Obama, provides parents and prospective students with key statistics on affordability and student outcomes for every college and university in the country.

The College Scorecard highlighted Illinois State’s 71 percent graduation rate and 82 percent freshmen retention rate, which are well above the national averages of 44 percent and 67 percent, respectively. The Scorecard showed that, 10 years after starting school, Illinois State alumni earn salaries that are more than $10,000 above the national average. It was also noted that Illinois State graduates begin repaying their college debt 25 percent faster than the national average.

“This is a compelling accounting of what makes Illinois State special,” said Provost Janet Krejci. “Some of the things that stand out to me are our graduation rates, our low student indebtedness relative to some of the best universities in the nation, and certainly the success of our graduates. Our graduation rate puts us in the top 10 percent of all institutions across the country, and that’s something of which we’re very proud.”

One data set in last year’s scorecard that the Department of Education did not include this year is the student loan default rate. Illinois State has a low rate of 2.8 percent, which is a further reflection of the affordability of an Illinois State education, and the career success enjoyed by alumni.

“The College Scorecard recognizes Illinois State for success in areas that are very important to students and their parents: academic quality, affordability, and career success,” said President Larry Dietz. “Illinois State has long been a first choice institution for talented and motivated students. The data in the College Scorecard allows prospective students and their parents to see that quality and to see how the University exceeds national averages in very important areas such as graduation rate and alumni earning.”

The U.S. Department of Education released the data in September and packaged it into individual reports on each school that can be accessed through an online database. The scorecard website offers comparisons between institutions and types of institutions, within regions, and by other criteria.