Introducing NEBHE’s new Trends & Indicators …
It should go without saying that data is tricky (or is it are tricky?).
Take the issue of student aid as one example. Some states have annual budgets; some have biennial. Some states report all kinds of aid in one place; others leave it to observers to patch together the hodgepodge of merit and need-based programs from the state’s general fund and various state agencies. Different people have different definitions of “grant” and “scholarship.” And all know that this state gift aid is dwarfed by federal sources and by “loans.”
As musician David Byrne once sang, “Facts don’t do what I want them to/Facts just twist the truth around.”
For more than half a century, NEJHE has been publishing tables and charts exploring “Trends & Indicators” (T&I) in New England’s demography, high school performance and graduation, college enrollment, college graduation rates and degree production, higher education financing and university research.
In the past, we have drawn the data from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, the College Board, the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems and NEBHE’s own Annual Survey of New England Colleges and Universities.
It’s a pleasure to join this year with NEBHE colleague, Director of Policy & Research Monnica Chan, to expand our sources and inaugurate a more robust T&I feature.
As part of the plan, we will post short trend-related Newslink items within our T&I section. So, for example, if a new report is issued on net tuition, we’ll connect our brief coverage of the report to the T&I sidebar on our homepage—adding a bit of color to our valuable, but sometimes gray, tabular T&I data and better connecting similar topics via searches.
Ultimately, we seek to build a substantive back and forth among readers to create a vibrant living T&I whose figures, with your help, will be as accurate and useful as possible.
Click here for our latest relevant Newslink items.
For the full charts and figures for each of our T&I topic areas, please use the tabs at the top of the newly formatted T&I page.
Check back periodically as we continue to update new trend data. And many thanks,
John O. Harney is executive editor of The New England Journal of Higher Education.