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Showing posts from February, 2014

A Deeper Dive on Financial Health

Federal Student Aid, a division of the Department of Education, releases its list of colleges and universities based on Financial Responsibility (sometimes called Financial Health, which I think is more accurate.)  In general, to continue to be eligible to award your students federal financial aid, you need a score of 1.5 or above (on a three-point scale.)  The scores go down to -1.

Most presentations of the data are pretty static: A table with the data, for instance.  But I think there is a bigger story here: Where are colleges in trouble located? How many are not-for-profit? How many students do they enroll? What about Pell grant recipients and students of color? Do are they more likely to enroll in colleges with failing financial health?

So I merged some 2011 IPEDS data into the mix.  Some of the results surprise me; neither Harvard nor MIT are a 3, for instance; the Franciscan School of Theology in California, however, is.  Results like this have caused some consternation among ac…

Are Graduation Rates an Input or an Output?

It seems obvious: Students come in, and students go out. The type of students who enter your university are measured on lots of things, like test scores, GPA, ethnicity, and parental income, to name just a few. Universities are measured too, on lots of those same things, as well as others, including the graduation rate. Lots of people think the graduation rate is a function of what the university does or does not do, and in some sense, of course, they are correct: If you don't care about your students, or their progress, or you're not challenging their minds, they may leave.

But in another sense, it's also possible to think of outputs as a function of inputs. It's been suggested before by Malcolm Gladwell, for instance, that we often confuse selection effects with treatment effects:

Social scientists distinguish between what are known as treatment effects and selection effects. The Marine Corps, for instance, is largely a treatment-effect institution. It doesn’t have an…

Trends in Federal Student Loans to Undergraduates

Since I was at the College Board Midwestern Regional Forum today doing a presentation, I thought I'd show some of their data in a visualization.  It's one I've been working on for a while, because it's trickier than it looks.

This shows loan volume for undergraduates borrowing Subsidized Stafford, Unsubsidized Stafford, and PLUS Loans.  In case you're not familiar with the parlance, you can read about it here.

Up until 2010-2011, colleges and universities could particpate in either The Direct Loan Program (FDSLP on these charts) or Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) which was administered through financial institutions.

I think the trends are interesting, but you decide: I recommend when looking at volume you use constant (inflation-adjusted) dollars to see the trends unless you really want to see the growth in nominal dollars.

In order to stack the bars to show total volume, I had to do this on two charts, as it doesn't make sense to stack two avera…

Where did Doctoral Recipients go to College?

Don't get freaked by how busy this looks. It's starting off showing all the data, but you'll want to filter it down to make it easier to view.

This shows the college or university that awarded the bachelor's degree to doctoral recipients in 2011. I'd recommend you start by choosing just one of the large academic rollups, or even specific programs.

It's no surprise, of course, that larger institutions with more students produce more students who go on to a doctorate, so you can choose "Highest Degree Awarded" to look at different types of colleges. If you want to look at your specific favorite college, you can use the text box, or the state filter to narrow it down.

On all dropdown filters, make your selections and click "apply" to activate the filter.

The data came without the IPEDS ID number attached to it, so I can't (yet) merge this data with enrollment; but at some point I'd like to be able to convert the display to show percent…