Skip to main content

A (better) look at the NACUBO Data

Last night, I gave a little demo of Tableau Software to graduate class, and tried to make the point that big, long, detailed spreadsheet reports are like a teenage daughter: The information you get sometimes seems like it's only given to meet the minimum requirement of reporting, not to allow you to extract any insight.

This seems to be true with the people at NACUBO, too, who each year release a study of endowment values and one-year performance.  I'd encourage you to click on that link to see exactly what they provide.  Not only is the document lacking any insight about trends of the shape of the market, it's boring.  Most people will look at the top 15 or 20, and then go down the list to find institutions they know and make some comparisons.

Extracting the data is difficult, and even when you do, it's laden with characters that should be stripped off or cleaned up due to footnotes and other caveats. Moreover, there is no ID number attached to the colleges (like an IPEDS ID) so you can't merge other information into it to get real insight (like endowment to operating budget ratios, for instance).  Still, I did the best I could, then visualized it.  It's below.

The top chart shows every university on two scales: 2014 Endowment value on the y-axis, and one-year percent change on the x-axis.  They are duplicated on the bottom bar chart.

It gets fun when you use the filters: Eliminate the super-endowments, zoom in on big or small gains by dollar or percent; or use the regions to narrow the geographic view.  (Note: One college had a 213% increase from 2013 to 2014.  You can reveal it if you want by using the second filter.  Pull the right handle all the way to the right.) You can't break it; I promise. But if you get stuck, you can always reset by clicking the small circular arrow at the bottom.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Highly Rejective Colleges

If you're not following Akil Bello on Twitter, you should be.  His timeline is filled with great insights about standardized testing, and he takes great effort to point out racism (both subtle and not-so-subtle) in higher education, all while throwing in references to the Knicks and his daughter Enid, making the experience interesting, compelling, and sometimes, fun. Recently, he created the term " highly rejective colleges " as a more apt description for what are otherwise called "highly selective colleges."  As I've said before, a college that admits 15% of applicants really has a rejections office, not an admissions office.  The term appears to have taken off on Twitter, and I hope it will stick. So I took a look at the highly rejectives (really, that's all I'm going to call them from now on) and found some interesting patterns in the data. Take a look:  The 1,132 four-year, private colleges and universities with admissions data in IPEDS are incl

On Rankings, 1911, and Economic Mobility

If you're alive today, you have lived your whole life with college rankings.  Yes, even you.  You may not have knows you were living in the time of college rankings, but indeed, you have been, unless you were born before 1911 (or maybe earlier.)  If you're interested, you can read this Twitter thread from 2020 where I discuss them and include snippets of those 1911 rankings as well as those from 1957, written by Chesley Manly. You can read for yourself, or you can trust me, that in fact the rankings as we know them have been surprisingly consistent over time, and most people would have only minor quibbles with the ratings from 1911.  Perhaps that's because they have always tended to measure the same thing. But what if we did different rankings?  No, not like the Princeton Review where they make an attempt to measure best party school, or best cafeteria food, or worst social life.  Something more quantifiable and concrete, although still, admittedly, a hard thing to get rig

Freshman Migration, 1986 to 2020

(Note: I discovered that in IPEDS, Penn State Main Campus now reports with "The Pennsylvania State University" as one system.  So when you'd look at things over time, Penn State would have data until 2018, and then The Penn....etc would show up in 2020.  I found out Penn State main campus still reports its own data on the website, so I went there, and edited the IPEDS data by hand.  So if you noticed that error, it should be corrected now, but I'm not sure what I'll do in years going forward.) Freshman migration to and from the states is always a favorite visualization of mine, both because I find it a compelling and interesting topic, and because I had a few breakthroughs with calculated variables the first time I tried to do it. If you're a loyal reader, you know what this shows: The number of freshman and their movement between the states.  And if you're a loyal viewer and you use this for your work in your business, please consider supporting the costs