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How to IPEDS, Part II

This will be the second part of a series of blogposts about how to use IPEDS, The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System of the federal government. If you're just starting, I highly recommend you go to the  first post  to bring yourself up to speed on the basics.  If you don't, some of this might not make sense. In that post, I covered several of the ways you can extract simple tables of data for a single year or a single institution; or summary data, including fairly basic and interactive charts when you're looking for something simple.  In this one, I'll go over how to extract custom data over multiple years, and then walk you through the frustrating process of making sense of the output.  Warning: I get a bit cranky about this, because the data formats are largely unchanged since I started doing this perhaps 20 years ago, and they create far more work for the end user than they should. The last post covered the options in italics.  This one will cover the opt
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How to IPEDS Part I

Most, but not all, of the data visualizations on this site use data from IPEDS , the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.  And all of the visualizations (as I recall) use Tableau , a very powerful data visualization tool, especially for people like me who don't know how to write the code necessary in some software packages. In this post, I'll start with a few of the easiest and quickest ways to get data out of IPEDS.  I'll follow it up with one that dives a little deeper for people who like the raw data for analysis. The question I get asked most often is how I get the information out of IPEDS.  And that's not an easy thing to answer, as I use several of the methods available depending on what I'm doing.  Since you federal tax dollars have not yet been used to create an easy guide to IPEDS, I'm going to give you a primer on how to do the most simple things, and hope you'll do like I did, which is to learn it the hard way through trial and error on

Changes in Bachelor's Degrees, 2010 to 2022

There has been a lot written about the death of the English degree in higher education.  Is it true? Sort of.  But there are other interesting trends in patterns across the country in the past dozen years.  I downloaded IPEDS data from 2010 to 2022 (even years) and created the visualization to show those changes and patterns in bachelor's degrees awarded.  There are six views, and some of them are interactive. The first (using the tabs across the top) shows degrees by the institutions where they're awarded. You can see the college or university sector, region, urbanicity, and Carnegie classification (rolled up into larger segments for clarity.)  You'll see little change: Most degrees are still awarded by public institutions, doctoral institutions, in larger cities.  Hover for details. Over the years, degrees (in first majors) increased about 29% and the second view allows you to see the changes by area (using 2020 CIP codes that cluster degrees in broad areas).  You can see

Are students fleeing to the south to avoid The Woke? Three possible answers.

The three answers to the question in the title, in case you want to cut to the chase, are "Yes," "No," and "Maybe but we really can't tell for certain." This has been a point of discussion for some time.  The completely neutral publication Southern Living, with absolutely nothing to gain from publishing this piece, for instance, was convinced it was true back in 2022.  The American Thinker had similar observations, but made it about politics in this piece . And finally, among the articles I've seen, at least, is this one, in The Free Press  where the money quote is "Even if I could have gotten into Harvard, I wouldn't have gone," an observation which seems like it was made for a gif. There are a lot of anecdotes in these articles, of course, and we all know that three anecdotes are more than enough to build a story upon: My lawyer's neighbor's son's girlfriend is going to Alabama because she liked the rush videos , for in

Private college discount rates for first-year students, 2021

Two quick additions/clarifications to this:  The definition of full-pays is those students who receive no institutional funds.  EM people don't care where the cash comes from, only the discount.  Second, yes, I know some institutions use endowments to pay for institutional aid.  That percentage is likely very small, although concentrated at a few institutions. Before we begin, here is what this post does not do: It will generally not tell you where you can get low tuition, with a very few exceptions.  And when it does, it won't be at one of "those" colleges. It will not tell you which colleges are likely to close soon, although after the fact, you can probably find a closed college and say, "Aha! Right where I expected it would be!" It will not show you net costs to students. It will not adjust for things like church support, enormous endowments, or the cost of living in that high-priced city where Excellence College or Superior University is located. Got it

Changes in SAT Scores after Test-optional

One of the intended consequences of test-optional admission policies at some institutions prior to the COVID-19 pandemic was to raise test scores reported to US News and World Report.  It's rare that you would see a proponent of test-optional admission like me admit that, but to deny it would be foolish. Because I worked at DePaul, which was an early adopter of the approach (at least among large universities), I fielded a lot of calls from colleagues who were considering it, some of whom were explicit in their reasons for doing so.  One person I spoke to came right out at the start of the call: She was only calling, she said, because her provost wanted to know how much they could raise scores if they went test-optional. If I sensed or heard that motivation, I advised people against it.  In those days, the vast majority of students took standardized admission tests like the SAT or ACT, but the percentage of students applying without tests was still relatively small; the needle would

The annual graduation rate post

I know I've been barking up the tree of " Graduation Rates are inputs, not outputs " for a long time.  And I know no one is listening.  So I do this, just to show you (without the dependent variable) just how unsurprising they are. Here are four views of graduation rates at America's four-year public and private, not-for-profit colleges and universities. And I've put them in four views, with several different ways to look at the data. The first (using the tabs across the top) shows four-, five-, and six-year graduation rates on the left, and "Chance in four" on the right.  In other words, since everyone pretty much thinks they're going to graduate from the college they enroll in as a freshman, what are the chances of graduating in four years, rather than six?  There are some surprises there, as you'll see. On all the visualizations, you can apply filters to limit the colleges you're looking at.  The scroll bar (to move up or down) is on the r