Google adds two-year colleges to search feature

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Google has expanded its college search feature to include U.S. two-year colleges, as well as associate and certificate programs at four-year colleges.

Students can use the search engine to find schools based on program of interest, location, distance, size and more.

Google last year launched its college search feature for four-year U.S. universities, including acceptance rates, costs and student outcomes like graduation rates. 

“As this year’s college search season kicks off, we’re expanding our college search features to include two-year colleges and popular certificate and associate programs available at four-year institutions,” Google said in an announcement. “A new list feature makes it easier to discover a wide range of schools and explore different fields of study.”

Google says that searches for “community colleges near me” saw a 120 percent increase in the past two years, according to the online publication TechCrunch, with overall searches for college information spiking between August and the fall, as high school students get ready to apply.

Google uses public information from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. The new features are currently only available in the U.S. (Community college advocates note that federal information doesn’t accurately capture the story of two-year college students, who often take longer to complete programs for myriad reasons.)

Google this summer was criticized for not including community colleges in its tool.

“Google’s college search has a major blind spot that its champions have either failed to notice or aren’t willing to call out: it only covers traditional four-year colleges,” wrote the American Enterprise Institute, which included examples of how the search tool had details on the University of Virginia but not Northern Virginia Community College, which has more than twice as many students.

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