Skip to main content

Posts

Flagships, Land Grants, and Big Public Universities

This is my annual (sort of) look at tuition at public universities across America.  Even when I worked at private universities, this was a topic of interest to me, and it should be for you too. Public universities educate the vast majority of students in the US (and when you add in community colleges, the skew toward publics becomes even more pronounced.)  There are real consequences to an educated population, as I've written about here and here and many other places. There is no definition of "Flagship University" but we can look at Land Grant institutions, of which there are three categories: The institutions chartered as a result of the 1862 Morrill Act; the 1890 institutions, of which many are HBCUs; and the 1990 institutions, which include many Tribal Colleges and community colleges. For this, I've chosen the 1862 land grants, the flagships (see below) and the other large public universities, with enrollments over 20,000 undergraduates in order to get the great
Recent posts

Higher Education Enrollment and Capacity

This week, I was tagged in a tweet by Akil Bello , asking about capacity in higher education in the US.  My first response was that there was no way to measure capacity; no one asks this in federal reporting, and any way to attempt to measure it was fraught with problems. Remember this point as I attempt to do just that. At the same time, I've been hearing more about the decreases in college enrollment nationwide, and I've wanted to respond to them and supply some context.  So, I think I might be able to accomplish both with one post and one visualization. On the latter point, you want to take a look at the first tab (across the top) Total Enrollment Trends . You can see that we have experienced some drop-off in total enrollment (gray line for totals and colored lines by segments). Hover over the lines to see how much they've changed from 1980 and from the prior year.  Measured against the dramatic increase over a longer period of time, the drop-off might be viewed as a bli

Education and the 2020 Election Results

In 2017, I stumbled upon some 2016 election data and started to look at the relationship between educational attainment in the US and election results .  The title was only half serious, but some people took exception to it.  Still, it's remained a topic of interest to me since then.   Before I begin writing about the latest visualization, let me point out a couple of things on this new display with the 2020 election data.  You'll likely notice some similar patterns, but patterns don't prove causality.  Even if they did, I could come up with two equally plausible explanations of this data that come at the answer from diametrically opposed political perspectives. Take your pick, or just look and see what you find interesting.  It doesn't always have to lead to something. This time we're dealing with another hot political topic, COVID-19 and vaccinations.  And, it seemed to me that the political divisions in America tend to fall along the same lines.  Or so I thought

Public universities and the public mission

My last post looked at the US population by ethnicity , and how it varied by age group in the states.  I thought it might be interesting for anyone, but especially for those who do university planning or enrollment forecasting, as income and ethnicity factor into college going rates. It made me wonder about each state and the state of public education: Specifically, how does enrollment at public universities in each state compare to the population of college-aged people (generally speaking) in that state? So I re-used that data and merged some enrollment data into the mix, and voilĂ , as they say. What this shows: On the top chart, you see undergraduate enrollment at four-year and two-year public institutions in the US, broken out by ethnicity.  I've excluded international students and those for whom an ethnicity is not known, both of which are about 3.5% of the total.  This allows for easier comparison against the US population (where there is no category for either.) On the botto

A look at the states: Ethnicity and Age

 As is often the case, this started with some work I was doing anyway regarding a question someone asked me about different states and public universities and how the composition of the student body mirrored or varied from the population in general.  That will probably come about later, but for now, a look at just the population. With a few exceptions, most of the enrollment at your institution is driven by geography; the majority of your enrollment will come from within 500 miles of  your campus. (The exception might be states like Texas, where I once looked at data for a private university and told them that--from a geodemographic standpoint, their top three markets were Texas, Texas, and Texas.) In addition, though, age is a confounding factor.  In the US, as you look at older populations, you get more white people; as you look at younger populations, you see more diversity.  Thus, it's not just the makeup of the state; it's the makeup of the people in the state who are most

A Deep Look at Net Price

First things first: Let's define what IPEDS calls Net Price: You can read all the details here , or just realize it's the cost that students and parents are expected to pay after all grant aid is awarded.  The average is only calculated for those who receive aid.  If you have questions beyond what is found on the link above, you'll have to ask someone else to explain it. Some limitations: This data is for Fall, 2018, and it's by income bands that have been around a long time: Under $30,000, and then in increments up to anyone over $110,000.  That top threshold is clearly too low, with some college budgets exceeding $70,000 annually. There are four views here that go from very high-level overviews to more granular, and ends with 45 private, selective colleges who have a unique quirk in their pricing, or so it might seem. View 1: All Values Arrayed shows the entire landscape in a box and whiskers plot.  The gray boxes show were the middle 50% of the (unweighted) distribut

Another look at enrollment and ethnicity, 2019

 Let's take a look at undergraduate enrollment by ethnicity.  You'd be surprised how hard it is to keep this to seven views, as the topic is complex and nuanced.  But I did. The topic should be self-explanatory: Who goes to college where?  And there are six views, using the tabs across the top: Single Ethnicity Percents allows you to see which institutions have the largest percentage of students of the selected ethnicity.  The view starts with Hawaiian Natives and Other Pacific Islanders, but you can choose any of nine different groups using the filter on the top right.  If you want to limit the universe of colleges, use the filters down the left-hand side.  Maybe you want to look at Asian students but only at HBCUs, for instance. Single Ethnicity Counts is identical, but it uses counts instead of percentages. Filters work the same way. The next two views are static: Student Ethnicities and Destinations is easy to read once you understand it.  Hover over any segment for an ex