Wednesday, December 13, 2017

How Many Colleges are There in America?

Seems like an easy question: There are 7,284 post-secondary options in the US.

But everyone has a different definition of what they want when they ask for a count of colleges.  This should give you some clearer sense of the right answer for you.

At top left is "The Answer," and that will not change as you navigate through this.  But you can use the controls here to change the number of colleges and universities you're looking at, and to change how they're broken out.

Those controls change the number (in orange, at top) and the splits.

For instance, at the far right, on the control labeled "Region, choose "Great Lakes," and you'll see that there are 1,079.  On the gray box at top right, choose "State" and you'll see 354 in Ohio.  Under "Control of Institution" choose "Public" and you'll get 266.  And so on.  Now break out by "Campus Location" and see most are located in cities.

The reset button is at lower right.

I hope this is helpful to you as you wonder about the shape and size of American higher education.

Monday, December 11, 2017

What's All The Fuss About, Redux

My tireless crusade continues.

Everywhere you look, it seems most of the discussion and ink spent on higher education focuses on the most selective institutions in America.  In addition, if you listen to parents and students and counselors talk, you'll learn that there is a perception that college is increasingly hard to get into.

So, I broke the whole world of 1.403 four-year private, not-for-profit and public colleges and universities into bands, based on the absurd input measure of their freshman selectivity.  On the visualization below, they range from red (less than 15% admitted) to purple (over 60%) admitted.

Each institution falls into one of these boxes.

The four charts, clockwise from top left: The number of colleges in those categories, the number of freshmen they enroll, the total number of freshmen with a Pell grant, and the total undergraduate enrollment.

If you think you see a lot of purple, you do.  And this is before anyone enforces any sort of standard definition of what an "applicant" is.  Sometimes, it's just a person who accidentally clicks on an email link.

Of course, sometimes the scarcity of a good is exactly why people freak out about it. And of course, this doesn't even consider open admissions colleges (nine percent of all college enrollment in the US is in California's Community College System). So, this won't change the world, but I feel better for sharing.  Now you can't say you weren't told.

Friday, December 1, 2017

2016 IPEDS Admissions Data

Fresh from IPEDS, just months after the wrap up of the 2017 admissions cycle, comes the 2016 admissions data.

I've done something a little different this year to focus your attention, using five views of data, navigable via the tabs across the top of the visualization:

Admissions data (first tab) is pretty clear.  Colleges display admit rates (overall, in red) and then admit rates by gender (men are in blue; women are in orange).  If the blue bar extends beyond the orange, you can see that the admit rate for men is higher, and vice versa.

On the right are standardized test scores, showing calculated means.  In other words, since no one publishes averages and everyone wants them, I took the mid-point of the 25th and 75th percentiles to approximate the 50th percentile.  Note that IPEDS does not allow colleges that are test-optional to report test score information.  Also note that I've taken out a lot of colleges with extremely limited or suspect data.

As always, you can play with the filters (if there are any) to limit the colleges displayed, and you can sort columns by hovering until you see this little icon, and then click on it.

You can reset the view by clicking this little icon at lower right.

The four other views show a limited scope of colleges: Selective, wealthy, mostly men, and Land Grant institutions, and plotted them using some variables that should both answer and generate questions.

You be the judge.