Skip to main content

Enrollment and Market Share

Yes, it may be that your enrollment is falling.  Or, it may be rising.  That could be bad, or it could be good.  But if you do enrollment management for a living, and you talk to your trustees or alumni or anyone else who's interested, you might be interested in another metric that is perhaps more telling:  Market share.

As I've written many times, there are factors outside of our control that influence how many students enroll in our institutions: Demographics, the economy, your appearance in the Final Four (or maybe not), things that happen on campus, bad media exposure, or even perhaps, the weather.  The amount of the effect, of course is debatable, and it's too easy to get roped into the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy. (When I worked in Chicago we once had an admitted student program on St. Patrick's Day, and a few drunk revelers found their way into the Student Center at 10 am and passed out, requiring an ambulance.  The yield on that event was among the highest we'd ever had, contrary to what we expected.)

People don't always understand the externality of things.  They think enrollment is a function of marketing spends and operations and lots of other things.  To some extent it is, of course, but what if everyone in your region is showing the same trends as you in headcount.  Is that all your fault, too?

One way to control for these external factors is to look at market share, or the percentage of all enrollment that enrolls in your institution.  It puts your numbers into a larger context of the environment in which you operate.  That's what this visualization is meant to do.

If you want to share this with your trustees or senior leaders, feel free.  Also feel free to chip in and buy me a coffee to support the time and software and hosting costs I incur with Higher Ed Data Stories.  You can do so here (but not if you are a high school counselor or you work at a CBO.)

This is pretty simple: Choose a state and the light gray bars show the total undergraduate enrollment trend in that state from 2010 to 2020.  The view starts with North Dakota, just for the sake of clarity, but you can choose any state you want.  Some states, like California or New York, get crowded.  In that case (or in any case, even a state like Rhode Island, for instance) you can use the filters.

Use the highlight function to, well, highlight any college on the display.

Do note that if you use the four filters on the right, they will filter the total number and the percentage calculation.  So, for instance, if you choose Doctoral institutions on the Carnegie filter, the bar updates to show only that enrollment, and the percentage of total.  Try it on North Dakota, and you'll see that of all the enrollment in doctoral institutions, about half goes to each of the two big doctoral institutions.  This can help you see your market share among similar types of institutions, or to see your market share with certain populations (men, Hispanic students or International students, for instance.)

Hover on the lines between the bars to see the college name.

Here's a challenge for you: Find the institution with the highest market share in its state in 2020.  (Hint: It's easier to dominate a state that's remote, more rural than urban, with fewer institutions and smaller populations. So you can skip California and New York in your search, for instance.)

Also, note that there are a few states with strange data points: Kennesaw State in Georgia, or Ivy Tech in Indiana, or what used to be Penn State but is now a consolidated campus system.  These are few in number but hard to hunt down and repair.  Take the data with a grain of salt.

As always, let me know what you see here, or if there are any questions that pop up.


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

The College Finder

Note: A few people have commented on slow loading with the visualization.  If you have troubles, click here to be taken right to the visualization .  It should open in a new tab and you can follow along from there.    This is always a popular post with high school counselors, IECs, parents, and students who are looking for general information on degrees awarded, or a very specific combination of academic programs, location, and other institutional characteristics. It uses IPEDS data I downloaded as soon as I can when it became available (and before a looming government shutdown), and shows all 1,700 majors recognized by the federal government in the IPEDS system, using CIP codes, and the number of degrees awarded by college in any selected area. For instance, you might have a question about which college awards the most degrees in French Language and Literature: A few clicks, and you find it's the University of Arizona.  If you want a colder climate, choose the Great Lakes region,

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