The third capability of Education Sector’s new Higher Ed Data Central that we would like to highlight is the ability to analyze under-examined data (see here and here for previous installments). While far from perfect data sources, Department of Education databases contain many hidden gems that get almost no attention.
For instance, the department used to collect the number of “Executive/administrative and managerial” university employees who make over $100,000. If we look at just private non-profit, four-year universities and put highly compensated employees in per-student terms, it is clear that some schools seem to have many more highly compensated administrators than others.
Some people make the argument that excessive administrative staffing drives up tuition, a question we can begin to address. The chart below illustrates the relationship between tuition and the number of highly compensated administrators per 1,000 students.
Each additional highly compensated administrator per 1,000 students is correlated with $1,120 higher tuition (R^2 = .42). (Of course, this doesn’t prove that higher administrative staffing causes higher tuition, merely that they are correlated – a deeper analysis would be needed to determine if there is causation.)
The point for today is merely to emphasize that there is often more data available than is commonly realized, and that Education Sector’s new Higher Ed Data Central can be a very useful tool in analyzing it.