Short answer. Yes, free-and-reduced price status likely impacts college segment of initial enrollment. See the pretty Sankey diagram below that shows the college segment of initial enrollment for high school graduates by free- and reduced-priced meal (FARMS) eligibility status. However, read my data notes below before making any conclusions.

Most notably 47% FARMS eligible high school graduates failed to enroll in any college segment compared to 24% of non-FARMS eligible high school graduates. Also, 10% of FARMS eligible high school graduates initially enrolled in an out-of-state college compared to 24% of non-FARMS eligible high school graduates.

Click here if you can not see the diagram.

Long answer. As an analyst, I can think of a long list of reasons why this data does not answer this question. The first being is that the data source does not list actual numbers, just percentages. So I had to back into the numbers I used in the diagram. However, due to rounding, the numbers do not add up to the proper totals. If this was for real analysis I would try to get the actual numbers. I need to use numbers, even if they are not quite correct to get the diagram to render properly.

But for this project, I am just attempting to see if I can code this type of diagram and getting a general sense of what the diagram would show. On that end, it is a success. I can do the coding, I am sincerely hoping that you can see the diagram above right now. I also think I really like the visual effect. I think it works well when you have a few categories for each node.

Notes about the Data

  • The number of students are estimates from the percentages published by the Maryland Longitdinal Data System Center. I have not fully checked my calculations, this is primarily for me to learn how to create the diagrams using the software. I am also attempting to learn which types of data visulizations I find useful and worth pursuing. I also am trying to better understand the data.
  • Due to rounding in the data source the numbers do not add up to the correct totals. This is just for a general idea of the data, not for specifics.
  • Some notes adapted from those provided by the Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center, all errors are my own.
  • The number number of years following high school graduation impacts the initial postsecondary enrollment numbers. Graduates who enrolled in Private Career Schools or Continuing Education and Training Certificate sequences are not included.
  • This dashboard uses “initial enrollment,” which counts only the first enrollment of a student after graduation. For example, a student graduates high school, enrolls in a summer community college course, and then enrolls in an out-of-state college in the fall. The initial enrollment count for that student is one in-state enrollment. Other methods of counting enrollment may count that student as one in-state and one out-of-state enrollment. Accordingly, when reviewing, and especially when comparing post-secondary enrollment reports, it is important to understand how the enrollments are being counted.
  • The number of high school graduates reported on this dashboard includes: (a) only the counts of 12th grade graduates; and (b) eliminates any duplicate graduation recordsSome numbers are rounded or estimated due to data suppresssion. For general illistrative purposes only.

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