Small Private College Index (SPCI) - Insight #1

Welcome to the SPCI Insight Blog! Our goal in these posts is to analyze the SPCI data set and share quick, interesting facts and insights with you as they relate to student recruitment and retention. (If you're new to the SPCI or need a refresher, click here to read our introduction blog.) We hope you benefit from the discussion below and encourage you to let us know if there is a specific question or topic you would like us to address.

Our first “insight” takes a look at the enrollment characteristics of the SPCI in aggregate. IPEDS data for the group has been compiled and reviewed in conjunction with our colleague, Dr. Jed Jones of Mind Ecology in Austin, Texas.

From the available IPEDS data, there was sufficient information for us to evaluate recent enrollment performance and trends over the two most recent cycles (2012-2014) for 552 of the 586 institutions included in the index. Here are some initial findings:

1. The members were stratified into 3 sectors based on their enrollment characteristics for the period:

  • 12% had consecutive declining enrollment for the two cycles
  • 80% had fluctuating enrollment for the period
  • 8% had consistent rising enrollment for the two years.

2. While the number of colleges in the Southeast region comprise just under 25% of the SPCI, these colleges as a group outperformed all others within the rising enrollment segment, constituting 39% of that group.

3. In the declining enrollment segment, the Rocky Mountain region had the most trouble compared to the other regions (although there are only 6 institutions in the SPCI in this region).  Both the Southwest and the Mid East regions also showed difficulty compared to the other regions, while the Far West region has the least difficulty in the segment.

Following is a slideshow that displays this data as a percentage of each region by sector, as well as slides delineating each region. As you mouse over the slideshow you will see navigational tools you can use to pause or change slides at your viewing pace.

(Please scroll over the image to use the navigational tools.)

If you would like to know more specifically how your college or university stacked up in the index, please reach out and we will be glad to share the specifics with you.

In our next SPCI insight, we will look at a comparison of retention rates within the index and how it impacted enrollment. We welcome your feedback and suggestions. Again, please feel free to comment on what metrics you would like to see discussed and compared in future insights.


SPCI Segments Graph