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Showing posts from November, 2014

What is the Pell Grant Worth?

The Pell Grant got its start as the Basic Education Opportunity Grant, or BEOG sometime in the 1970's; it was later named for Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell.  The idea was simple: To provide a basic level of financial support for students from low income families who aspired to go to college.

It's almost certainly had a lot to do with increased levels of educational attainment in America, but rapid tuition increases, coupled with lower increases for the Pell, means the gap between Pell and tuition has gotten bigger over time.

The College Board has complied a lot of good data on this and other financial aid trends in its report, updated annually, on its Higher Education Trends site, where you can download the data. Unfortunately, the data looks like this when you get it.  Maybe you can extract the insight; I can't.



So I pulled it into Tableau and spent an hour or so with it to see what I could find.  It's below.  The College Board has calculated enrollment-weighted…

Four Ways to Look at College Tuition in the States

College tuition is a hot topic these days, in case you've not noticed.  But often, the stories focus on a national perspective: Tuition is up a gazillion percent in ten years, for instance, or average tuition increases last year were 4.9%.  Sometimes, big states like California get attention because there are so many students affected by tuition increases (and because 9% of all college students in the US are in California Community Colleges.)

So I took data from the College Board, and looked at it four different ways, to show how the story changes depending on where you live.  Each of these four views requires you to choose a type of institution (public four-year, public two-year, or private not-for-profit), and to choose whether you want to look at inflation adjusted tuition or nominal (non adjusted).  I recommend inflation-adjusted (unless you're interested in nostalgia) because it gives you a better sense of how much tuition has increased. One view (at the bottom) also allo…

More on Endowment Resources and Low-income students

I've just finished writing an article for the Chronicle of Higher Education (which is why I haven't posted in a while) talking about our first-generation, low-income student challenge.  This chart didn't make the final cut because the article has a lot of charts, and I tried to keep them simple.  But I do think it's instructive.

Each dot represents an institution; you can hover over the dot to see details.  They're colored by freshman selectivity (red dots mean institutions with a freshman admission rate of under 15%, using 2012 IPEDS data, and green is admit rates between 50% and 75%, for instance.)  They are arrayed on two scales: Endowment assets per FTE student enrollment (high to low, from top to bottom) and the Full-pay/Pell Spread. To calculate the Full-pay/Pell Spread, you simply subtract the percentage of undergraduates with Pell Grants from the percentage of all students who receive no institutional aid (also know as full-pay students.)  Institutions on t…