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The Highly Rejective Colleges

If you're not following Akil Bello on Twitter, you should be.  His timeline is filled with great insights about standardized testing, and he takes great effort to point out racism (both subtle and not-so-subtle) in higher education, all while throwing in references to the Knicks and his daughter Enid, making the experience interesting, compelling, and sometimes, fun. Recently, he created the term " highly rejective colleges " as a more apt description for what are otherwise called "highly selective colleges."  As I've said before, a college that admits 15% of applicants really has a rejections office, not an admissions office.  The term appears to have taken off on Twitter, and I hope it will stick. So I took a look at the highly rejectives (really, that's all I'm going to call them from now on) and found some interesting patterns in the data. Take a look:  The 1,132 four-year, private colleges and universities with admissions data in IPEDS are incl
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All Degrees Awarded by US Colleges and Universities, 2019

 The question often asked by high school and independent counselors is something like, "What college offers degrees in <insert major name>.  While this can't help you know what colleges offer a specific degree, it can tell you which colleges awarded those degrees in 2019. It can also help you see the shape of degrees awarded in the US, and even dive deeper into a specific college to see what types of degrees  It's pretty straight-forward, but there are also some features you need to be aware of.  If you know how to Tableau, go ahead and dive right in. The first view  using the tabs across the top shows all degrees awarded by US colleges in 2019.  From there, you can choose any specific combination of student and college characteristics: For instance, if you want to find which institutions award the most bachelor's degrees at public universities in the southwest, just click.  If you then want to find which of those colleges offer the most degrees in History, just

Women and College Degrees, 2019

I saw an opinion piece in Insider Higher Ed this week, and this statistic jumped out at me:  Four-year institutions are graduating a third more women than men.  It's not that the statistic was surprising, of course.  Almost everyone who has looked at higher ed data knows the increasing educational attainment of women has been one of most notable trends in our profession.  (Of course, the real story is the reason women didn't have higher attainment prior up until now.) If you look at this NCES Digest of Education Statistics table, and do a little math, you can see the trend for yourself. In 1970, women made up only 35% of all college enrollment; by 1988, that figure had risen to 50%, and by 2019, it was 60%. This trend mirrors bachelor's degrees as well.  In 2019, about 58% of BAs were awarded to women, and 42% to men.  While the trend is remarkably consistent across all Carnegie types, regions, and levels of control, the statistics between and among individual institution

Private College and University Tuition Discount Rates, 2010, 2014, and 2018

There is almost nothing that enrollment managers and CFOs and trustees talk about at private universities these days more than discount rates.  Because, as I wrote recently , colleges are not-for-profits, but they're not charities; they need revenue to keep the business running because electric bills, faculty salaries, and test tubes are all paid for in cash. And while I no longer work at a private university, this is still important because the financial health of one sector affects all other members of the industry in some way.  This is important information for you to know. Discount rate determines how much cash you actually receive from each student after you award institutional financial aid.  If you understand discount, you can skip over the blue section below and go right to the explanation of the visualization.  If not, here's how EM people think about it.  Don't worry if you're confused; it is a difficult concept to understand. You charge a tuition.  And you of

Let's talk about library books

This post had two inspirations: First, I was scrolling around the IPEDS data center one night, looking for something to visualize that I hadn't before that I thought would be interesting. I scrolled through all the variables, and found the Academic Libraries section.  I was certain that I had never even looked at the data, so put it in the back of my mind. The second thing that led me to this data was thinking about my discussions with high school counselors after they come back from campus tours: Just how often they've heard the same things from tour guides who are quite convinced the counselors have never heard it before (the blue safety lights comes to mind, along with the perfunctory mention of the number of books in the library.) The latter is not an unimportant statistic, of course, as the library has long been at the heart of the intellectual life of an institution dedicated to intellectual pursuits.  But what do those numbers mean?  Are comparisons between institutions

Doctoral recipients in the US, by ethnicity over time

A while ago I published this visualization , showing the baccalaureate institutions of doctoral degree recipients over about 60 years.  It's a post I do every few years, and it always seems to be helpful for high school and independent counselors who work with students and families, and just interesting for the rest of us.  Shortly after posting, I got an email from colleague Crys Latham at Washington Latin who wanted to know if you could look at that data by ethnicity.  The answer, unfortunately, is no: You can choose to download the data by undergraduate institution or ethnicity of the recipients, but not both.  (Perhaps NSF will give more granular data to bona fide academic researchers, so maybe someone can find out.) However, that got me thinking a bit, so I went back and looked at the tables again. I downloaded ethnicity of doctoral recipients since 1983, in five year increments, and created the visualization below.  It's pretty simple, and if someone with better skills w

Fresh WICHE data: Projections of High School Graduates

The good folks at WICHE just released some fresh data on high school graduates, past, present, and future, and as always, it's interesting.  Their website has some excellent summaries, and some interactive dashboards, but I like to download the data and create my own views, some of which I'm sharing here. If you've looked at this before, you know all the disclaimers about the accuracy of the data; it seems to be pretty good, but data this big is complicated and hard to work with, and it's never perfect.  In fact, the staff there said that prior year's estimates were a little short due to an unanticipated bump in high school graduation rates.  Good news. The point is this: This data gives you a good place to put your feet down and get a glimpse--but not a perfect view--of the future.  It may and probably should help you with your planning efforts, and especially to talk to people at your institution about current and future realities.  Of course, it's not just n