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Enrollment at Oregon Colleges and Universities, from 1980 to 2019

 We're all fascinated by enrollment numbers.  Each fall, publications across the nation report on local, regional, and national trends.  The numbers are usually top-line, with little context or explanation of what they mean.  And they usually show a snapshot of one-year's change (enrollment went up by 2.3%, or enrollment fell by 1.7%). Enrollment analysis, of course, is complex.  It includes headcounts and types (graduate, undergraduate, full-time, part-time) and it includes other important variables (like revenue or diversity).  And how you measure that success is always changing, and your success is always dependent on the latest definition of that term. But granular measures are not always available, and if they are, there is no guarantee that people are counting things the same way.  So we're left, for now, with numbers.  Just raw numbers.  Sometimes, of course they're interesting all by themselves. This post deals with enrollment in Oregon, and includes all institu
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Important Data You Should Probably Ignore

 Just this morning, The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce released the results of a pretty impressive effort: Trying to determine the ROI (return on investment) of post-secondary education at a specific institution. In a world where we clamor for clarity and certainty, this might sound like good news: Finally, parents and students can tell whether one college is worth more than another.  Right? Well, not really.  But sort of.  In general, the overall trends are not surprising: Four-year degrees are worth more than two-year degrees, at least among the Oregon institutions I've displayed below.  And, as many people have been saying for a long time, liberal arts degrees are worth a lot in the long-run, but less valuable in the short-run.  But of course beyond general trends, precision in a project this complicated becomes, well, complicated.  So even though my institution, Oregon State, looks pretty good here, there are many reasons why you might not want to

Counselors: Please tell your students we can take it

To say this has been an odd year in college admissions would be an understatement.  The complexity and the uncertainty and the pressures of the season are all part of what we signed up for as part of the job, of course.  While the profession can be a roller-coaster, it's also a lot of fun and quite gratifying. I'm now in the 38th year of doing this, and I wouldn't change it for the world. But with the upheaval of the pandemic comes great uncertainty.  Colgate applications went up 102%. Harvard reported being up 42%.  Campuses in the University of Florida system are down by as much as 50%.  What does it all mean?  It means trying to figure out how fall will look is harder than it's ever been. (Edit: I've been sent this update suggesting University of Florida is actually up a bit in applications. I had done a news search but did not find it originally). In order to know how many students to admit, we have to figure out what percentage of those admitted will enrol