Sunday, January 28, 2018


Every once in a while, we discover a new blog or website that piques our interest. Here is a blog called Higher Ed Data Stories that was referred to us by a patron who provides college advice. In this blog, the author explores data about colleges nationwide.

The author of the blog, Jon Beckenstedt, is the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management at DePaul University in Chicago, but the blog is his work alone. Though it is not directly related to k-12 issues, Higher Ed Data Stories provides fascinating insights into trends at the post-secondary level.

The "higher ed story" that caught our attention was about "freshman migration". The story provides information about "first-time, full-time" freshman college attendance trends by state and institution for the years 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016. 

University of Idaho

In this chart, you can see the percentage of freshmen at the University of Idaho who came from Idaho and Washington schools in each of the years.  It's interesting to see the shift:

So the percentage of UI freshmen from Idaho increased substantially from 2010 to 2016, while the percentage of students from Washington declined during that time. The other two largest groups attending UI are students from California (slight percentage increase) and Oregon (slight decrease). The net increase in students from Idaho was just under a hundred.

Lewis and Clark State College

Lewis and Clark State College, in Lewiston, has seen a relatively stable pattern of enrollment, with roughly 4 of 5 students coming from Idaho. Most of LCSC's other students come from Washington, though there are a few enrollees from the state of Oregon.

Idaho State University

An even more pronounced majority of Idaho State University's students come from the state of Idaho. About 9 of 10 ISU students are homegrown. Though ISU's out-of-state enrollment has increased slightly since 2010, it's barely made a dent in the percentage of in-state students attending the university.

Two of Idaho's colleges have seen a significant downward trend in the percentage of students coming from Idaho. The pattern of change is similar at Boise State University and The College of Idaho.

Boise State University

In 2010, two-thirds of BSU freshmen were from Idaho. Just six years later, that percentage has dropped to 55. The number of BSU frosh from Idaho has remained just about the same, but Boise State's freshman classes have grown by 370 during that time. The biggest percentage growth in out-of-state students is from California, and the percentage of the BSU freshmen class from the Golden State has doubled since 2010. The 2016 freshman class at BSU had 400 more out-of-state students than it did in 2010; almost 300 of those students were from California.

This pattern of increased out-of-state enrollment in public universities is happening around the country. For example, just in the Rocky Mountain region:

  • at the University of Utah, out-of-state enrollment increased by 367 from 2010 to 2016, the percentage of in-state students declined from 80% to 71%. The number of Idaho enrollees grew from 62 to 110.
  • out-of-state enrollment increased by 663 students at Montana State University, and the percentage of in-state students declined from 59% to 48%. The number of Idaho students grew from 54 to 75
  • in Logan at Utah State University, out-of-state enrollment grew by 346 students, and the percentage of in-state students declined from 76% to 69%. The number of Idaho students decreased from 292 to 263.

Interestingly, the number of freshman enrollees from California increased at all 3 universities (+ 169% at Utah, +49% at MSU, +93% at Utah State).

The College of Idaho

At one time, the vast majority of C of I students came from the state of Idaho. That has changed in the past four years.

A few years ago, the College of Idaho implemented an incentive program to attract more out of state students. The strategy appears to have contributed to changes in the migration pattern at the C of I. It also appears that a change in strategy is in the works at the College, in order to get back to the "base" enrollment strategy formerly used - attracting academically talented Idaho students, many of whom participate in NAIA athletic programs, as well.

(In the interest of transparency, Dr. Coberly serves on the Board of Trustees for the College of Idaho).