Skip to main content

How Pell Grant Recipients Fare at America's 80 Largest Universities

On my train ride in this morning, I saw an article posted on Twitter about Pell Graduation rates at the 80 largest universities in America.  If you want to look at a boring table of static data, just click here.

But I wanted to see if there were any patterns, so I copied the table, pasted it into Excel and then opened in Tableau to visualize it.  I think it tells an interesting story, although the data set is unfortunately limited, and with no key to merge the data with another set, it loses some potential.

Start by looking at the first view.  For each institution, there are three columns: The overall six-year graduation rate; the six-year graduation rate of Pell recipients, and the spread, with the values on spread sorted from low to high.  In this instance, a negative number means Pell students graduate at a higher rate than the student body overall, and a positive number means just the opposite.  As you scroll down the list from top to bottom, ask yourself what makes the pattern make sense?  There are dozens, but all I could see was, "football," but you might see "big public research university."  Or something else all together.

If you want to sort by another column, hover over the axis until the little icon pops up and click away. The "reset" at lower left does just what it says it does.

The second view (on the tabs across the top) shows the Pell graduation rate scattered against the percentage of freshmen with Pell.  The bubbles are colored and sized by spread (blue and large are good for Pell students; red and small, not so much.)  Right away you see the pattern: If you enroll fewer Pell students, your Pell graduation rate is higher.  My hypothesis would be that more selective institutions (who have higher graduation rates overall) a) simply select the most capable from among the poor students they admit, and b) have more resources to fund the smaller percentage of low-income students.

What do you see?


Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…

So you think you're going back to the SAT and ACT?

Now that almost every university in the nation has gone test-optional for the 2021 cycle out of necessity, a nagging question remains: How many will go back to requiring tests as soon as it's possible?  No one knows, but some of the announcements some colleges made sounded like the kid who only ate his green beans to get his screen time: They did it, but they sure were not happy about it.  So we have some suspicions about the usual suspects.I don't object to colleges requiring tests, of course, even though I think they're not very helpful, intrinsically biased against certain groups, and a tool of the vain.  You be you, though, and don't let me stop you.However, there is a wild card in all of this: The recent court ruling prohibiting the University of California system from even using--let alone requiring--the SAT or ACT in admissions decisions next fall.  If you remember, the Cal State system had already decided to go test blind, and of course community colleges in th…