We use data to empower people to make better decisions about careers and education.


2021 Best Colleges in the U.S. by Salary Score

2021 Best Online Colleges for Salary Score Badge

In order to empower students with the data they need to decide on colleges, we've launched proprietary Salary Scores that compare colleges based on proven outcomes. GradReports’ Salary Score uses data from the U.S. Department of Education to compare the median alumni salary for a specific program at one school to the median alumni salary for the same program at other schools, allowing prospective students to see which schools offer top earnings for that program. Colleges also have an overall Salary Score based on how well the school performs across all the programs it offers to illustrate colleges that prepare students for a high paying career regardless of major. By providing data research based on actual alumni outcomes, we hope to enable students to know, before they start their education, what they are likely to earn after graduation. View Rankings »


We have collected over 85,000 ratings and reviews from students. Learn which schools are improving graduate outcomes at GradReports and GraduatePrograms.


We independently research thousands of colleges to identify the ones offering the best quality and price. View our rankings at GradReports.


Each year we give away $260,000 of our profit in needs-based scholarships. Visit our scholarships page to learn more and see our recent winners.

Optimal helps prospective students make informed, data-driven decisions to improve their collegiate experience and their post-college careers. We provide over 85,000 in-depth student reviews and college rankings for every major based on alumni salaries and manually researched tuitions. Our tools provide accessible and transparent data regarding cost and earning potential, allowing students to choose educational paths to success without the burden of insurmountable debt.


Thought Leadership

Pay over Prestige: College Rankings that Focus on What Actually Matters to Graduates

A degree is a significant financial investment, and the choices students make about their education will likely have a lasting impact on their future careers and salaries. The rising tide of student debt and a lack....

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From MOOCs to College Degrees: Which Education Options are Worth It?

Over the last decade, the growing need for technical skills and a rapidly-changing workplace has left employers struggling to find skilled candidates and a workforce continually seeking new skills to....

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Which Majors do People Feel Prepare them Most for Their Careers?

When choosing a major, one of the biggest things to consider is how it will impact your career. This question is driving a growing number of students toward “hard skills” majors, such as computer science and engineering...

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The Online Student Perspective: What are the top-rated online colleges, and what are they doing right?

Countless surveys done in late spring found students were significantly less satisfied with their learning experience when COVID-19...

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As part of our mission to make college more accessible, Optimal has given away $676,961 of our profit in need-based scholarships since 2010.

Community College Scholarship

ELIGIBILITY: Students enrolled at a public community college, junior college, technical college, or city college, and working towards a certificate, diploma, or degree at the associate’s level or a first-time bachelor’s level.

AWARD: $2,000
DEADLINE: 3/31/21

Undergraduate Scholarship

ELIGIBILITY: Undergraduate students enrolled at a private or public educational institution, and working towards a certificate, diploma, or degree at the associate’s level or a first-time bachelor’s level.

AWARD: $2,000
DEADLINE: 3/31/21

Online Degree Scholarship

ELIGIBILITY: Students enrolled at a private or public educational institution, and working towards a certificate, diploma, or degree at the associate’s, bachelor’s or post-bachelor’s level. The academic program must be pursued online - all classes require little to no attendance on campus.

AWARD: $2,000
DEADLINE: 3/31/21



At Optimal, we embrace a culture of growth, experimentation, and creativity. Our small and agile team allows all members to exercise great responsibility and freedom, leading each person to have a measurable impact on our business. We also offer unique benefits like tuition reimbursement and charitable donation matching. We enjoy solving hard problems just as much as we enjoy our wine and cheese parties and snuggling with our troop of quirky office dogs.