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Showing posts from May, 2014

The Diversity of American Higher Education

This is not a post about the diversity of American college students, but rather about the diversity of institutions.

Recently, on a list discussion I subscribe to, someone made a point about non-selective or open institutions in the US: That there were many more of them than you might think.  So that got me thinking about our collective fascination with the most selective colleges and universities.  But even that visualization only looked at four-year, degree granting, freshman-enrolling institutions.  And of course, despite what popular culture might suggest, there are "many things in heaven and on earth that are not dreamt of in your philosophy."

So, this: Just about all of the over 7,000 post-secondary educational institutions in the US, shown a couple of ways: Control (Public, Private not-for-profit, and Private, for-profit: Open- and non-open admissions policies; and bachelor's-awarding or not.

Use the filters at right to select a subset, and you'll see how many…

Miles to go before we sleep...

President Obama has framed a very specific goal for the United States: To increase the proportion of 25-to-34-year-olds who hold an associate degree or higher to 55 percent by the year 2025 in order to make America the leader in educational attainment in the world.

It's also very ambitious: Just see for yourself.  This is data from the US Education Dashboard showing where we are as of a few years ago.  It uses PUMS Data of the American Community Survey, and averages the results over three years to reduce the standard error of measure.

You can see how far we've come in three years by using the filter at the top right to toggle between 2005-2007 and 2007-2009.  These were, I'd remind you, very good years for higher education in the US.

More important, you can see how far we have to go; the reference line is set to 55%.  And as a bonus, of course, you can compare states and different ethnic groups.  US Totals are indicated by the blue bar; states are in grey.

Where would you …

Some More on Tuition and Fees

There is a lot of data out there on college costs, but the story is not so easily seen.

That's why I like this data set from the 2013 Digest of Education Statistics, Table 330.30. It breaks tuition charges into percentiles by college or university control and further into two-year and four-year. Use the filters (in the blue boxes, at the top) to select Tuition and Fees only, or Tuition, Fees, Room, and Board (on the left); and institutional control and type (on the right). The top chart shows the charges, in nominal (not-adjusted for inflation) dollars. For your reference, inflation over the time period of 2000 to 2012 was 33 percent.

You can see the labels at the end of the lines: Purple is 90th percentile, for instance, and the orange line shows the 25th.

But toggling through the different types of colleges and universities can be less than insightful, other than seeing they've all increased pretty dramatically over time.  Look instead at the bottom chart, which shows p…

We're Number...Well, actually, we're pretty average

In some sense, using weighted averages to compare the US to the average value of any set of countries (especially when you don't include Russia, India, or China) is tautological; we're so big, we pull the average toward us by our mass.  Still, there is some interesting stuff here.

This visualization shows the number per 100 of students who are at the typical bachelor's degree-earning age who actually received a degree in the year shown.  In other words, if the typical age to receive a BA in the tiny country of Karpathia is 23, and there were 100 students aged 23 in 2009, how many of them earned a degree?

The visualization is sorted by 2011, but you can look at any year by hovering just to the right of the year label at the top of any column, and clicking the little icon that appears.  Clicking again will sort in reverse order, and clicking again will sort alphabetically.

It also starts off showing the "Total" value, but you can choose just women or just men; I en…

Student Loans in Detail

Note: Functionality restored.

A few posts back, I wrote about Enrollment by Institutional Type.  I've also taken a stab at Student Loans before, but find the federal data very hard to work with, as the types of loans rolled up into different categories is not consistent over time, thus leading to just flat-out-wrong conclusions about what's happening over time (note: In case it's not clear, that link leads to a visualization that proves how important it is to know your data; I didn't think those numbers could be right, and it turns out they weren't, but it was only apparent when I took a look at graduate loans, which were rolled up with undergraduate loans one year, but not the other.)

Anyway, it's interesting to take a look at the world of federal student loans: Who gets them, the balance between and among the different programs, and how different institutions benefit from them.

This visualization shows both macro- and micro- student loan data.  On the top two…

Pricing Public Education in the States

Everyone is--or perhaps should be--interested in how the state you live in thinks about public higher education pricing.  Even if you don't have a student in your family enrolled in a state institution, you probably pay taxes to support higher education; even if you don't pay taxes, you're probably interested in how your state develops educated citizenry who someday will.

So it's very interesting to look at this data from the Digest of Education Statistics several different ways.  In order to get the most out of this visualization, you must interact, however, and there are only two ways to do so.  Both are very easy.

First, use this control in the middle of the page:


I promise you, you won't break anything.  With this control, you decide what value to show on the bars and to use to color the map (orange is low; purple is high).  It starts off with 2012 Resident Tuition and Fees for Public, four-year universities.  But choose anything: Non-resident tuition, for inst…