BMGT 311 Assignment #4: Data Visualization (Due October 23)

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Data is all around us.  It’s everywhere.  A key success metric is if you can make sense of the data, and summarize it in a way that makes sense to you, as well as your audience.  Data is a very powerful tool – but it is only powerful if you know how to use it.

One piece of data students may be close to is the rising amount of student loan debt in the United States.  Since you are college students, this is probably a subject that is closer to you than others.  The United States government (when it was working, of course), has released a trove of data about the student loan situation in the US.  However, that data is not easy to absorb at times.

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For assignment #4 – I am going to present you with 3 data sets that were released by the United States Department of Education.  Your assignment is to pick one of the data sets, and prepare a presentation that includes:

1. A visual representation of the data using Excel, Infographic, Tableau, or other data visualization software program

2. A summary of your findings at a very high level

3. A recommendation from the data visualization and summary of findings

Please save your assignments to Slideshare and link to them by October 23 for full credit on this assignment.  Slideshare does not accept Excel documents, so save your visualizations as a PowerPoint and upload to slideshare and include a link in the comments section below.

Here are the scenarios:

1. You are a high school senior that wants to go to college in the Pittsburgh area.  You are going to make your decision based on a simple indicator: Student Loan Default Rates.  First, you want to pick a school type that has the lowest loan default rate.  Would you pick Private, Public, or For Profit Colleges?  What college would be your best choice?  Why?  What college would be your worst choice?  Why.

Note: for scenario #1 use the file: school_loan_default_visualization copy I sent via email

2. You are a Department of Education administrator being tasked with figuring out which states have the highest Student Loan Default Rates.  You would like to focus on the top 10 states with the highest loan defaults, and develop a recommendation as to why.  In addition to visualizing the states with the largest default rate issues, your supervisor would like to include a percentage of students in default per state compared with that states overall adult population (Note – the states adult population is not given – you will need to find it and add to the Excel spreadsheet given to you).

Note: for scenario #2 use the file: US_Loan_Default_Rate_State.xls and state info you can find via Census links

3. You are a Department of Education Administrator, and have been asked to give a presentation on the rise of student loan default rates by type of school (private, public, and for profit).   You would like to compare the 2-year cohort loan default rate from 2009, 2010, and 2011.  Your supervisor would like to see the results in visual format for total schools as a percentage, as well as a breakout by school type for all years (2009, 2010, and 2011).  Based on this data, which schools are the biggest issues?  What would your recommendations be to fix this issue based on the results that you have found?

Note: for scenario #3 use the file us_student_loan_default_2 and FY2008CDR

This assignment will take some work, and require working knowledge of excel.  If you need further direction, we can discuss in class over the next two weeks.

Below is an example of the types of visualization I am looking for.

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Chris Lovett


10 thoughts on “BMGT 311 Assignment #4: Data Visualization (Due October 23)”

  1. I’m doing scenario 1. Private school has the lowest default rate in general, but in FY 2011, the default rate of Public schools is slightly lower than Private schools.
    Duquesne Univesity has the lowest default rate, it means students might be easier to pay back their loans in the future, so that should be the best choice.
    University of Phoenix has the highest default rate, it means students might have a tough time to pay back their loans in the future, so that should be the worst choice.

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