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Randy Krum infographic designerRandy Krum

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Data Visualization, Infographic Design, Visual Thinking, Product Development and Marketing professional fascinated by good infographics.  Always looking for better ways to get the point across.

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Thursday
Aug232012

The Rising Cost of Higher Education

The Rising Cost of Higher Education infographic

The Rising Cost of Higher Education from SchoolTutoring Academy does a good job visually showing the reader how quickly the price of college educations have risen.

Attending a college or university represents a significant investment for families. Tuition fees have continued to rise which has made it increasingly difficult for families to accurately budget and save. This problem is exacerbated for low and middle-income families where tuition fees as a percentage of median family income has increased significantly. Learn how affordable tutoring can help your child.

The design gets to the point immediately.  If the reader only looks at the top portion of the infographic (without scrolling down) they still walk away understanding the key message of how dramatically college costs have risen as a percentage of the median family income.  However, I don’t see any indication that the values have been adjusted for inflation or not.

I also like the concentric doughnut graphs that are used with consistent colors to show the same 8-year comparison for different income level families.  The line chart comparison of annual costs is also clear and easy to understand.

The lower portion of the design becomes too text heavy, and begins to show data values in text without visualizing them.  This is where the design will start to lose readers by trying to convey too much text information.  What is the icon in the description of Private Loans?

The bottom of the design is missing a copyright (or Creative Commons) license and should also include the URL to the infographic landing page where readers can find the original, high-resolution version.

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Reader Comments (4)

I don't see any explanation of what's causing rising costs? So the colleges keep increasing the price, but have their expenses quadrupled in last 25 years? Why is education expensive? Would be great to compare the education costs with college spending and quality of education.

And what are the solutions besides more and bigger loans? Is making the loans available really the solution? with demand will only rise with supply.
August 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSergey
Sergey hit the nail on the head -- what exactly is causing these cost increases at universities?

I have never seen a data-driven answer to this question.
August 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnon
Budget cuts from state and national government, an increase to keep up with technology, and all of the bells and whistles for the new fancy facilities on campus are causing these increases. Colleges and universities are spending more to keep up with the recruiting (and retention) game because the more amenities they offer (transits, gyms, learning support, technology, apartment style residence halls, dining halls, ect), the more likely students will want to attend that school.

On the flip side of that, quality education comes with quality students, faculty, and staff... Many (not all) students are drastically underprepared for college when they arrive as traditional freshmen and the can make a difference in their quality education. College has become too much about getting a degree to get a job, than it has been about getting educated for many and unfortunately, this reflects poorly on the institution, the faculty, and the students.
August 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterlockchm
thanks.
August 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdebra

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