Skip to main content

Enrollment at Women's Colleges, 2005 to 2013

Note: I got an email from Dean Kilgore at Mount Saint Mary's in California, who indicated I'd downloaded data for the wrong Mount Saint Mary College:In this case, the one in New York. I had to create the list manually, and it was just a slip on my part.

Sorry about that. I've removed them from the analysis, but unfortunately, can't add the correct one at this time without a considerable amount of work.



Sweet Briar College in Virginia recently announced, to the shock of many in higher education, that it would be closing at the end of this spring, 2015 term.  As often happens when a college decides to close, those who are or were close to it rally the troops and wage a fierce campaign to try to keep it open.  Sometimes it works, other times, it doesn't.

The scene playing out is not unusual: Allegations of secret deals, incompetence, blindness to all that is and was good at Sweet Briar. This is what happens when you decide to close a college.  And although I'm not taking sides, I did write before that the closing does seem to be curious in light of what little publicly available financial data there is: If you had to pick a college from this list that was going to close, it probably wouldn't be Sweet Briar.  Even the federal rankings of financial responsibility gave Sweet Briar a 3, a score higher than Harvard, which may only point out how absurd those ratings are in the first place.

A while ago, I downloaded a pretty extensive data set, using the members of the Women's College Coalition as my base.  Not all colleges have data available in IPEDS, however, so I did the best I could (for instance, the Women's College at Rutgers is not in IPEDS as a separate institution, or if it is, I couldn't find it.  And I took out Saint Mary of the Woods, as they just announced they're going co-ed).  Also, since there is no IPEDS data field that tells you when a college is a women's college, I couldn't go back and find out how many were labeled as such 20 years ago.  That might have been interesting.

Overall, though, the data were pretty uninteresting.  So I gave up on visualizing it.  There were trends, of course, but nothing dramatic.

So, when I saw this article, by one of the people leading the charge on the Save Sweet Briar campaign, one sentence jumped out at me:

Enrollment: There is no evidence that enrollment is declining, either at Sweet Briar or at women’s or liberal arts colleges. This claim is simply false. Numbers people, please check for yourself: The data are publicly available.

The data are available, and the link goes to the IPEDS site I use all the time.  So, take a look here. There are five views of the data, using the tabs across the top.  The first shows changes in freshman, total, undergraduate, and graduate enrollment over time.  The changes on the right are shown in relation to the prior year.  The second shows the same data, but the change is cumulative since 2005: As you can see, total undergraduate enrollment is down almost 6% during a time enrollment increased nationally.  The third shows admissions activity; the fourth breaks it out, showing Sweet Briar and all the other women's colleges in aggregate.  And the fifth shows total undergraduate enrollment in 2005 and 2013 (on the left) and change (on the right.)  As you can see, there are some big winners, big losers and a lot of small changes.

Decide for yourself.  And tell me what you see:





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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 the mo…

2018 Admissions Data

This is always a popular post, it seems, and I've had a couple of people already ask when it was going to be out.  Wait no more.

This is IPEDS 2018 admissions data, visualized for you in two different ways.  You can switch using the tabs across the top.

The first view is the universe of colleges and universities that report data; not every college is required to, and a few leave data out, and test optional colleges are not supposed to report test scores.  But IPEDS is not perfect, so if you find any problems, contact the college.

On the first view, you'll see 1,359 four-year private and public, not-for-profit institutions displayed.  In order to make this as clean as possible, I've taken out some specialty schools (nursing, business, engineering, etc.) as many of those don't have complete data.  But you can put them back in using the filter at top right.

Hover over any bar, and a little chart pops up showing undergraduate enrollment by ethnicity.

You can also choose to…

Yes, your yield rate is still falling

In 2015, I wrote this post on falling yield rates.  It was pretty obvious to many of us in the profession that this trend was widespread, and largely driven by a dramatic increase in applications against a more modest increase in actual students who could or would enroll.

It apparently wasn't so obvious to everyone.  Response was much stronger than I thought it would be, and I never had seen so many requests from people who wanted to share it with their trustees (btw, this is public; you never have to ask permission to share).

So I redid it, using trend data from 2005 to 2018.  First a couple of definitions:


Admit rate is the percentage of applicants who were offered admission (admits/applicants).Yield rate is the percentage of admitted students who enroll (enrollers/admits).Draw rate is not commonly known, and I wish I remember who first mentioned it to me in the 1980's.  It stuck with me and is a valuable metric, I think, as we attempt to measure market position.  It's Y…