Nearby Colleges API specification

The Nearby Colleges RESTful API is free, with request-limits for more computationally-intensive endpoints.

All our data are exclusive to 4-year schools within the US and its territories. This turns out to be 2885 schools.

Right now, we’re using NCES IPEDS 2013–2014 final release data. Visit them for more detailed variable descriptions.

Before you begin your project (presumably in educational technology), we recommend reading this essay for some perspective.


Prefix all routes with “”. Non-“https” requests will be 301-redirected to their encrypted equivalent.


Search and radius-search are available again, as of 2017 November 5 UTC.

Error Handling

If there’s an error with your query, ok will be 0, a message will appear with the description of the error, and a 400 code will be used.

GET /alias?query=uiuc (should be ?q=uiuc)

1 {
2     "message": "missing-params",
3     "ok": 0
4 }


GET /locations/12345 (unitid is not 6 characters)

1 {
2     "message": "bad-unitid",
3     "ok": 0
4 }

For queries that don’t have an answer, like a well-formatted although non-existent unitid or non-existent alias, empty arrays or null will be used, depending on the endpoint.


If you find spelling mistakes or wrong data, contact the university or college associated with that data—they provided it to the Dept. of Education not us! Unless data are swapped (i.e. one school’s information is appearing for another school), we won’t change it. Basically, we’ll only fix problems with the actual API (decreasing latency, 500s, adding data, etc.). Contact us if you see any of those, being sure to provide a link.

We update all schools’ data every two years (occurring next in 2016), as they’re released in this manner.

In the event you find a bug—especially a 500-coded error—please contact


General stability and speed improvements.


  1. By using this API or any services offered by Nearby Colleges, LLC, you implicitly or otherwise agree to our disclaimer.
  2. Given that this API is free and comes without throttling, there is no uptime guarantee, but it’s been pretty good so far.
  3. Access to search endpoints, if granted, can be stripped at any time without notice. For any endpoint, your IP can be blacklisted if you’re clearly abusing the service (as defined by the maintainers).
  4. By making requests to servers owned or operated by Nearby Colleges, LLC you verify your comprehension and acknowledgment of these terms.


You may contribute to this documentation by making a pull-request. Rest assured, we don’t profit off of any work you do (no one pays for API use). The API and documentation are maintained by 2PITAU.