Monday, January 13, 2014

More on Net Costs

In the continuing debate about college affordability, another way to look at the problem.

This is once again IPEDS data from FY 2011, the most recent available for financial aid and net price.  It shows, on the top chart, the net price for students at every college or university in the US, sliced three ways: Net price for students with family incomes (adjusted gross) over $110,000 in blue; net price for students from family incomes between $48,000 and $75,000 in gold; and net price for students from family income of under $30,000 in red.  They are sorted from the top by the blue bar, in descending order.  For reference, on the right of the top chart is the percentage of freshmen with Pell Grants (in orange).  In congratulating an institution for doing well on low-income students, it's also important to consider how many of them they enroll in the first place.

On the bottom, the same net price data is shown as a percent of family income.  But since we don't really know what the average income is for students in any band, use the blue parameters on the right to estimate. You may think that the average for the Under $30,000 band is $10,000, for instance, or that it's $25,000. It's your choice for all three bands.  The bottom chart updates as you change the input.

Use the filters on the bottom to select smaller groups: You may only want to look at universities in the South, or in Wisconsin, or the most selective, or just research universities.  There's no limit.

Eager to hear your take on this.  Reminder: Income is only available for students who complete a FAFSA; and, as usual, all the caveats about the reliability of the non-adjudicated IPEDS data apply.