Just as nutrition labels have attempted to make it easier to know which foods are healthier than others, a federal project called the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet is supposed to make it easier to know which colleges or universities will be more affordable than others. The Sheet is a standard form that presents information about the costs of attending a particular institution and the options for paying those costs. This page from the U.S. Department of Education provides some background on the Sheet and a list of the institutions that have adopted it:
college education may be the most expensive thing you'll ever purchase,
so educating yourself about the debt you'll be taking on might be a
wise place to start.