Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Real Increase in College Tuition and Fees

The College Board has done a nice job of compiling and analyzing data on charged college tuition and fees; alas, as I've said before, they, like NCES, put their data in tables that are summarized and formatted for people who want to print them out.  It's good information, but hard to extract any insight.

Go ahead and download the spreadsheet in the right-hand column from this link, and then go to table 5.  Do you see any patterns?

It's why I like data visualization tools like Tableau Software: Not only does it make it easy to turn rows of data into something visual that tells a story; it makes it easy for me to allow you to see what you want.

This shows average tuition charges for public two-year and four-year, as well as private, four-year institutions by state, from 2004 to 2013.  The charge is weighted by enrollment, so it shows what the average student was charged at those institutions.  It's gross charges, before net price.

As you can see by playing with this, increases vary pretty dramatically by type, control, and region.  The bottom chart shows percent change since the first year shown (you can start with any year by using the filter). And you can choose to show nominal dollars or inflation adjusted dollars.  As you like it.