Friday, May 16, 2014

Student Loans in Detail

Note: Functionality restored.

A few posts back, I wrote about Enrollment by Institutional Type.  I've also taken a stab at Student Loans before, but find the federal data very hard to work with, as the types of loans rolled up into different categories is not consistent over time, thus leading to just flat-out-wrong conclusions about what's happening over time (note: In case it's not clear, that link leads to a visualization that proves how important it is to know your data; I didn't think those numbers could be right, and it turns out they weren't, but it was only apparent when I took a look at graduate loans, which were rolled up with undergraduate loans one year, but not the other.)

Anyway, it's interesting to take a look at the world of federal student loans: Who gets them, the balance between and among the different programs, and how different institutions benefit from them.

This visualization shows both macro- and micro- student loan data.  On the top two charts, you can see the whole universe: Each circle represents an institution, sized by the total volume of loans selected.  On the left, they're colored by School Type; on the right, by Loan Type.  At the bottom, you'll find a bar chart, showing the volume by school, and the bars are colored by institutional type.

Use the filters in the middle to limit your selection, to see only the type(s) of schools or the type(s) of loans you're interested in, or to view institutions from a state or group of states.  All three views update.

What you'll see here is interesting, to say the least.  The first thing to jump out at you is The University of Phoenix, but with about 400,000 students, that's to be expected.  Even if you control for size, you'll see Phoenix has a high percentage of its budget generated from student loans, and although it's easy to compare them to Princeton, for instance, on a per capita basis, you also have to remember that Phoenix enrolls a lot more low-income students (in both number and percentage) than their distant cousin in New Jersey.

What do you see?  What would you like to see?