Trends & Insights

As the higher education landscape changes, Optimal seeks to provide data-driven studies on important topics across our sites. Our studies use proprietary research and in-depth analysis.

Earnings Elite: Universities Where International Business Degrees Pay Off Big

By Morgan Westling | Updated 6/14/2024

Discover the universities producing international business graduates that earn the most. Our study explores salary trends for bachelor's and master's degree holders, highlighting the top institutions, salary progression, and the impact online programs have on earnings to help you find an international business degree that can lead to financial success.

Colleges Producing the Highest Earners in Nursing

By Taylor Nichols | Updated 5/31/2024

Discover which colleges produce the highest-earning nursing graduates in this report examining the impact of education level and geographic location on nursing salaries. Learn about the potential for salary growth from associate to master's degrees and see how colleges across the U.S. stack up in preparing nurses for lucrative careers.

College Tuition Trends By State: What's Changed in the Last 5 Years?

By Morgan Westling | Updated 5/23/2024

Annual tuition is more expensive in almost every state - but not all! In this data study, explore the changes in tuition across the U.S. and discover where tuition has gone up the most, changed very little, or actually gone down.

Cybersecurity Degrees That Pay Off: Colleges Producing the Highest Earners

By Emily Sherman | Updated 5/16/2024

Explore the top U.S. colleges producing the highest-earning graduates in cybersecurity, based on analysis of bachelor's and master's degree alumni earnings at one and four years post-graduation. Whether you're considering a career in this fast-growing field or looking to maximize your educational investment, find out which colleges offer the best return on your tuition dollars.

Colleges Leading the Charge Toward Gender Parity in Computer Science

By Emily Sherman | Updated 5/9/2024

Only about 21% of computer science graduates are women, a significant gender gap in a critical STEM field. Discover the 29 schools that have achieved gender parity or better in their computer science programs.

The Cost of Learning: How College Tuition Has Changed Across the U.S. in Five Years

By Mike McCarthy | Updated 5/3/2024

Explore our in-depth data study examining the evolution of college tuition across the U.S. over the most recent five years of College Scorecard data. Discover key trends, regional comparisons, and insights into where college tuition is - and isn't - on the rise.

PWIs With the Highest Payoff for Black Students

By Mike McCarthy | Updated 4/18/2024

A look at 10 primarily white institutions (PWIs) where Black alumni are likely to see higher median salaries than other Black graduates in their state for 2024.

12 Best States for a Career as a Human Resources Specialist

By Emily Sherman | Updated 4/12/2024

A career path in Human Resources can provide stability and a good salary. Wages and employment opportunity can vary by location, so our report looks at these two indicators to determine the best states for pursing a career in HR.

Nine Best States for a Career In Substance Use Counseling

By Michael McCarthy | Updated 3/21/2024

Substance use counselors are in high demand, but employment opportunities can vary by state. This report explores the best states for a career in substance abuse counseling based on wages and job growth projections.

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