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Showing posts from December, 2014

Another 1000 Words and Ten Charts on First-generation, Low-income, and Minority Students

I have always enjoyed writing, and I consider this and my other blog  like a hobby.  Usually, I spend no more than 45 minutes on any post, as I don't make my living by writing, and my blogs are not "monetized." But once in a while, an opportunity presents itself to write for a wider audience, and that's when I see what it takes to make a living putting words to paper. That happened this week. You may have seen my opinion piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education . If not, you can read it first, read it last, or not at all; I think both this and that stand alone, despite their relationship.  In the end, we ended up with about 40% of my first draft, which is what happens when you write for a print publication. And of course, a print publication makes interactive charts, well, difficult. I think there is more to say on the topic, because the similarities in recruitment challenges for first-generation, low-income, and minority students tend to look a lot alike, and t

Looking at Student Loan Default Rates

Student Loan defaults make a lot of news, but there is not a lot of understanding about what a default actually is, and there is not good, easily accessible data on default rates, nor a lot of good contextual analysis.  But this may help a little. First, the source of the data is here .  You should read it, especially  the part about small numbers of students entering payment, or small percentages of students taking loans at a college skewing default rates.  You should also know that the definition of a default is being at least 270 days behind on a payment. This is not the easiest data to work with.  For one thing, the file layout descriptions don't match the file; Financial Aid uses a different ID than IPEDS, and the crosswalk tables that might help you figure out the IPEDS ID (to get a richer view of context) use a different format than this table does. In addition the "Region" doesn't roll up the states in any way I've seen before, and the "Program Ty