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Showing posts from January, 2018

How is College Enrollment in the US Changing?

College enrollment is down.  Or maybe it's up.  Or maybe it's both.

When you read headlines, you don't get a lot of nuance. And in a country as big as ours, with such an incredible diversity of programs and widely divergent institutions, nuance is important.  So this may help do the trick.

This is enrollment data from about 6,600 post-secondary institutions in the US, and goes back as far as 1980.  It includes every institution, including those that grant degrees, and those that don't; four-year private, not-for-profits, for-profits, and publics; liberal arts colleges, research universities, and technical institutes.  All here.

It's on two dashboards.  The first shows all undergraduate and graduate enrollment at all these institutions, since 1980.  (Note: The data skips from 1980 to 1984, and I took out two years of data--1998 and 1999--because they looked a little funky.)

On the first dashboard, there are several controls to filter the data.  So for instance, if y…

A Quick Look at the NACUBO Endowment Data

Each year NACUBO releases its study of endowment changes at about 800 colleges and universities in the US and Canada.  For this post, I'm including only those institutions in the US, and only those who reported two years of data to the survey, or about 787 institutions.

Higher Education in the US, of course, is a classic story of the haves and have nots; a few institutions near the top of the endowment food chain have amassed enormous endowments, allowing them great freedom in the programs they offer and the students they enroll. In fact, the 21 most well endowed institutions control over half, or about $280B of the $560B held overall, leaving the other 766 to divvy up the remaining $280B among them; the top 93 own 75%.

What's more interesting, I think, is the astonishing endowment growth: Stanford added $2.4B to its endowment in one year.  That amount is bigger than all but 38 of these institutions' total 2017 value.  In other words, if the gain on Stanford's endowmen…

National Trends in Applicants, Admits, and Enrolls, with Draw Rates

If you read this blog regularly, you'll know I'm interested in the concept of the Draw Rate, a figure seldom used in college admissions.  Many people, when thinking about market position in higher education use selectivity or admit rate (the percentage of applicants admitted), or yield rate (the percentage of students offered admission who enroll) by themselves.

But in the market of higher education, these two variables often fight against each other. (BTW, if you object to the use of the word "market" in higher education because you think it debases our profession, see what Zemsky, Wegner, and Massy have to say about that here.)

Colleges, driven by market expectations, have for a long time tried to increase applications, believing that what the market wants is greater selectivity in the institution they choose, based on the Groucho Marx effect. Except that in order to enroll the class you want, you have to take more students when apps go up (at least in the case of …

Freshman Migration, 2010-2016

This is perhaps the most popular, as well as my personal favorite, post, and I'm sad that I can only do it once every two years (as the IPEDS reporting cycle only requires this data be reported bi-annually.)
This shows patterns of freshman migration within and outside of state boundaries. It's valuable to people because you can see the composition of freshman classes at colleges: Where do the students come from? You can also see patterns of state exports: Which states keep students at home, and which send them out-of-state (of course, the size and educational offerings of the various states means it's often unfair to compare, but it's still interesting.)

For this, I've limited the universe to four-year, public and private, not-for-profit institutions. Community colleges and for-profit colleges tend to have very local enrollment patterns, and high numbers of part-time students. I've also taken out institutions whose primary focus is religious training, as w…