One of the things you think about in my job is net revenue per student. That is, after all is said and done, how much cash does a student generate? IPEDS allows us to calculate this using data in the set.
To do so, multiply new freshmen times the tuition to get gross tuition. Then subtract institutional aid to get net tuition, and divide again by the number of freshmen. So, if you enroll 200 students at $50,000 tuition, you generate a $10,000,000 gross tuition. Suppose you award $4,000,000 in aid; you're left with $6,000,000 cash. Divided by 200 freshmen, you come up with $30,000 in net revenue. Your discount rate is $4,000,000/$10,000,000 or 40%.
This always causes some confusion because people confuse it with net price, but the two are very different. It doesn't matter where the $30,000 in net revenue comes from, at least not from an accounting standpoint. It could be out-of-pocket, it could be from loans, or it could be from state or federal grants. It doesn't matter because a dollar is a dollar, and it only applies to tuition.
Net price, on the other hand, is the out-of-pocket student cost for total cost of attendance, not just tuition. It's total cost minus grant aid.
Now, onto the visualization. This shows just under 900 private, four-year universities and the net freshman revenue figures from IPEDS data, which is not always perfectly accurate. I only used private universities because it's easy to figure out gross tuition, unlike at public institutions where you have different students paying different amounts based on residency.
On the top is a scattergram, showing tuition on the x-axis and net tuition on the y-axis. The dots represent an institution, with the color being the Carnegie Enrollment Profile, and the size of the dot showing the percent of freshmen with Pell grants.
The bottom chart is a bar-and-whisker chart showing net tuition for each institution. Click here if you don't know how to read one. If you want to use the bottom chart as a filter on the top, just click on the label name (New England, for instance).
Hover over any dot for details; hover over the blue and white i box in the top right corner for instructions about interacting.
P.S. A big thank you to Steve Wexler and Jeffrey Shaffer for their help on "jittering" the points in the box and whisker chart.