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Student Loan Default Rates, 2014-2016 Cohorts

The US Department of Education has released the 2016 Cohort Default Rates, and it's always an interesting data set to play with, as it contains three years of data each time it's released.

This year's data is no exception, and I've taken the liberty of visualizing it to make it easy to get to the information, and to dive down deeper if you want.  But first, you may want to take a look at the website and read about what, exactly, is being measured.  Here's a detailed description of how these numbers are calculated, and you can take a look at the whole online publication here if you'd prefer.

It's also important to take a look at these as part input, part output.  That is, going to a particular college does not cause a student to default; some colleges (especially some for-profit institutions) enroll students with considerably less academic preparation who are less likely to graduate in the first place, and thus may end up with no degree and no suitable job t…
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Application Fees, 2018

It's been quite a while since I looked at application fees, so I thought I'd review them again.

I've never understood the idea of application fees; I suppose you can say they're not unreasonable, given that the college is offering a service to people who are not (yet) students. On the other hand, acquisition costs are a part of any business cost, and if you're into crass comparisons, imagine if you had to pay a fee of some sort before you could even try to buy a car.

Anyway, this is pretty simple and shows you two views: The first view (using the tabs across the top) shows an array of college app fees, based on how much they charge. I've broken them into groups ($10 or under, over over $250, for instance.) The top bar charts aggregate the data, and the bottom chart breaks the data into individual colleges. Hover over a dot for details.

If you work in admissions and want to compare your app fees to competitors or any group of colleges, use the filters at r…

Yes, your yield rate is still falling

In 2015, I wrote this post on falling yield rates.  It was pretty obvious to many of us in the profession that this trend was widespread, and largely driven by a dramatic increase in applications against a more modest increase in actual students who could or would enroll.

It apparently wasn't so obvious to everyone.  Response was much stronger than I thought it would be, and I never had seen so many requests from people who wanted to share it with their trustees (btw, this is public; you never have to ask permission to share).

So I redid it, using trend data from 2005 to 2018.  First a couple of definitions:


Admit rate is the percentage of applicants who were offered admission (admits/applicants).Yield rate is the percentage of admitted students who enroll (enrollers/admits).Draw rate is not commonly known, and I wish I remember who first mentioned it to me in the 1980's.  It stuck with me and is a valuable metric, I think, as we attempt to measure market position.  It's Y…

What's All The Fuss About? v 2018

It's always good to get some perspective. And thus, every so often, I download fresh data and do this visualization, with a few variations on a theme. We love to focus our collective attention and wonder on a handful of high profile, well known, well resourced, and highly selective institutions. Is that amount of attention warranted? You decide.

This shows just under 2,400 four-year public and private, not-for-profit institutions. I've broken these institutions into selectivity bands, based on 2018 freshman admissions data. You can see how many there are, how many students they enroll, how much of endowment they collectively control, and and what their average endowments are on the first tab. The second tab looks at variables by percentage of totals: Thus, not how much, but what percentage? Be sure to read the Data Notes tab for a few minor caveats.

This is not precise, but the patterns would hold for the most part. Of course, you can also see what percentage of colle…

Freshman Migration Since the Dawn of Time, or At Least 1986

Freshman Migration--or patterns of enrollment by new students, has always been of interest to me.  So I'm always thrilled when IPEDS releases new data, and the 2018 stuff is out.  This time, I decided to download every bit of it that's available, and give users the option to take a longer view, if they want.

Some caveats: IPEDS only requires this data in even-numbered years, so that's what I downloaded.  Still, there are some colleges that did not report for some years; don't write to let me know about it, as I've included it if they did.  Second, there are always a few mistakes in the data.  One year I found that Harvard reported 237 freshmen from Arkansas when they meant California. It happens.

Anyway, four views here, using the tabs across the top:

Freshman Migration Patterns shows data over time: What number and percentage of students went to college in-state, in-region, or out-of-region.  Use the filter at top right to choose one state.  The different patterns …

2018 Admissions Data

This is always a popular post, it seems, and I've had a couple of people already ask when it was going to be out.  Wait no more.

This is IPEDS 2018 admissions data, visualized for you in two different ways.  You can switch using the tabs across the top.

The first view is the universe of colleges and universities that report data; not every college is required to, and a few leave data out, and test optional colleges are not supposed to report test scores.  But IPEDS is not perfect, so if you find any problems, contact the college.

On the first view, you'll see 1,359 four-year private and public, not-for-profit institutions displayed.  In order to make this as clean as possible, I've taken out some specialty schools (nursing, business, engineering, etc.) as many of those don't have complete data.  But you can put them back in using the filter at top right.

Hover over any bar, and a little chart pops up showing undergraduate enrollment by ethnicity.

You can also choose to…

Changes in Educational Attainment, 1940 to 2018

Note: A few people have pointed out that some data on this appears to be slightly askew, even though the story is mostly unchanged.  So don't cite it.

Don't look at the viz yet.  Wait until I tell you.

This is an update to a post I did about five years ago, showing the growth in educational attainment in the US over time. I thought then, and I still think, it's among the most jaw-dropping visualizations I've done, not, of course, for the visualization skills, but for the story it tells, and perhaps, the future it holds for us. This is from Table A-1 on this page of the Census Bureau.

First, before you dive into it, take a guess about the percentage of adults in the US, aged 35-54 with a bachelor's degree or higher.  Got a guess?  If  you have a college degree, you probably said something like fifty or sixty percent, based on my sampling of twenty people or so.  If you didn't, your guess is probably much lower, usually ten or fifteen percent.  There's a less…