Updates to College-Insight.org

Today, we updated College InSight (www.college-insight.org) – our unique web site for higher education research—with data for academic years 2014-15 and 2015-16, including new data from the Department of Education that were released just last month.

For eight years, College InSight has been an easy-to-use, consumer-friendly resource for anyone interested in analyzing issues related to college affordability, diversity, and student success. Whether you are a prospective student interested in the racial and ethnic diversity of colleges you’re considering, an institutional researcher curious about how your college’s institutional grant aid awarding compares with that of peer institutions, or a policymaker trying to better understand differences in costs and debt across different types of institutions or states, this database is a valuable resource to identify and highlight important trends in higher education.

College InSight includes rich data from over 12,000 U.S. colleges and universities and nearly 200 variables. Unlike other higher education data tools, College InSight features totals and averages for states, sectors, and other groupings of colleges. In addition to data from the Department of Education, this tool includes undergraduate financial aid data from the Common Data Set (CDS), such as financial need, institutional grants, and the cumulative debt of graduates.

So what can you do on College InSight? On the website, you have the option of browsing data in Spotlight, Topics, or Explore All Data.

In Spotlight, you can view a snapshot of selected variables for a selected college, state, or school type, and choose a relevant comparison. For example, the screenshot below shows a comparison between California State University, Sacramento and all public 4-year colleges in California. More variables and charts are available if you scroll down, and you can also change years.

In Topics, you can focus on particular issues in higher education, such as economic diversity, student success, and financial aid.

If you are a more sophisticated data user and want to compare multiple colleges, states, or types of schools, or choose from additional variables or years, you can use Explore All Data to build your own table. For example, this screenshot shows a comparison of various college costs for all public, 4-year colleges in California over time. You can download the data as a spreadsheet or save your results for sharing with others.

If you are a “super user” and wish to access more than 50 variables or data for more than 1,000 colleges, states, or sectors, you can even request the data file from us. It’s available for free, though we always appreciate finding out what folks are doing with it!

If you have any questions about the website or suggestions for improvement, please email us at collegeinsight@ticas.org. We welcome any feedback you may have, as we plan for a larger revamp of the site. 

Technical tip: If you have visited College InSight before, you may need to clear the cached images/files in your browser to make sure our updated site works properly.

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The entire Economic Diversity of Colleges web site has been updated with the best available information for the 2004-05 school year. Institutional profiles reflect the new information with fresh charts and graphs, and the new data has been added to the comparison tool as well as the institutional data pages. We welcome your questions, comments, and suggestions about this update and other aspects of EconomicDiversity.org.

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The Economic Diversity web site now includes the average student loan debt for the 2005 graduating class as reported by 1,421 four-year institutions. Also included is the proportion of graduates with any student loans. The site provides access to these data (as well as comparable figures for 2000 and 2004) through an agreement with college guide publisher Thomson Peterson's. (The data are copyright 2006 Thomson Peterson's, a part of Thomson Learning Inc. All rights reserved.) Using the new 2005 data, we constructed statewide enrollment-weighted averages for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The state averages will be posted tomorrow on our sister site, the Project on Student Debt, along with a brief report. The five states with the highest average cumulative student debt are New Hampshire, Iowa, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. The five lowest are Utah, Hawaii, Delaware, Maryland, and California. These data aren't perfect. Colleges are asked to report the total federal and private student loans taken out by graduating seniors while they attended that institution. This means that prior borrowing by students who transfer is not included. Actual debt may also be higher due to private loans taken out by the students but not handled by the campus financial aid office (and therefore not in the campus' records).

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