Fall State Funded Enrollment Trends

Tonya Benton
Director of Institutional Research
Highline Community College
This dashboard provides a daily snapshot of FTE enrollment for the College's state-funded students and represents progress toward a key enrollment target for the College (excludes contract funded FTE and self-support funded FTE). Source data for this visualization is created daily in MS Access to support each of the three worksheets on the dashboard. The top two charts are inclusive subgroups of the bottom "All" chart.  For each chart, registration day count appears across the horizontal axis as a time measure within the term (in this case, fall). FTE are plotted on the vertical axis as the outcome of interest. This "viz" is published weekly as a static .pdf attachment for use by senior leaders and enrollment staff to compare current term progress compared to the same term in prior years. This visualization represents a significant shift in access to enrollment progress data for us, as we have a legacy data system with very little user-friendly access. Decision makers use this viz for prediction as well as understanding current enrollment levels. It is also used to guide strategic enrollment management conversations in recruiting and outreach to combat the gradual decrease of tuition-generating enrollments (seen in the top left chart) in the current climate of economic recovery and tuition hikes.



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Total Comments: 3
Leslie posted on 6/10/2013 10:10 AM
Informative. Thank You for Sharing :)
Liz posted on 6/24/2013 11:41 PM
Clarity: This is a clear representation of the data – the line chart is certainly the best execution of this enrollment build over time. The labels at the end points also help to ground the reader. At first glance, it wasn’t clear that the time periods are the same – it may be helpful to tell Tableau to fix the x axis with the same start and stop points across all charts. Then the reader can make quick comparisons across charts.

Accuracy: The three line graphs are scaled the same so information can be compared across charts. One issue I have had with a similar report as this is the fact that the enrollment lines tend to overlap. This overlap may make seeing the data difficult, though the trend of the lines are key here. Have you tried shrinking the top title a big to make a little more room to make the graphs taller?

Fit with Intended Message/Appropriate Display for data and message: The graphs fit with the message, and this type of enrollment display is great to have. You can really see how things compare. Since the reader may be most interested in comparing this year (the focus) against the other years, you may want to make this year the bold line and the others less dominant.

I also understand why the tuition-generating and basic skills graphs are different sizes, and may have been a necessary compromise to space. I don’t think this leads to a misinterpretation of the data – the reader would likely be more interested in the larger enrollment from the chart on the left.

Aesthetic Appeal: I would try making the graphs taller. I would also use a standard approach to the narrative takeaways in the graphs – using an online tends to separate this from the graph whereas not separating it allows it to somewhat blend in. Interestingly, I both like and don’t like the dots approach to the line – it does feel choppy and piecemeal, but it also conveys the over-time progressive build of the enrollment. Interesting.

Thanks for sharing your chart – this is valuable information to provide your campus.
Maria posted on 8/15/2013 1:11 PM
Message well conveyed. Only one critisism I can do is the thikness of the lines, making the reading difficult where the lines overlap.