The fourth capability of Education Sector’s new Higher Ed Data Central that we would like to highlight (see links for the first, second, and third capabilities) is the ability to combine data from different databases. For example, merging U.S. News and World Report college rankings with Department of Education IPEDS data allows us to investigate various relationships, such as the chart below showing the connection between a college’s ranking and the tuition charged.
The closer a college is to being ranked #1, the more tuition it tends to charge (something savvy presidents figured out years ago). This tendency is stronger for private colleges than it is for public colleges since the slope of the fitted line for private colleges is steeper than the fitted line for public colleges (each step further away from the #1 rank is correlated with a $73 lower tuition at private colleges and $27 lower tuition at public colleges).
Of course, merging different databases is not such a big deal when there are only a few hundred observations, such as for U.S. News rankings. But it can be a big obstacle when there are thousands of observations, such as the Department of Education’s default rate database, which lists 7,903 schools. Fortunately, Education Sector’s new Higher Ed Data Central has already done the hard work of combining this data with other higher ed data.
Tomorrow, we’ll examine the capability of developing input-adjusted measures.