Peer and Aspirant Institutions

Overview

In addition to examining current and historical data from our own institution, Jacksonville University leaders frequently also want to compare our data, policies, programs, and outcomes to those of similar institutions. Prior to completing the data-informed peer and aspirant institution identification process, different groups tended to work off individualized lists as the institution did not have a publicized or shared peer and aspirant list for benchmarking purposes. The identification process centers on not identifying institutions by name until the list has been trimmed to a small number using publicly available data.

Riverfront

Task Force

During the 2019-2020 academic year, JU utilized a Rankings Task Force to examine our positioning in national publications and ensure we are presenting ourselves to the best of our ability. Committee members include:

  • Scott Bacon—Senior Vice President of Marketing, Communications, and University Advancement
  • Amanda Billy—Director of Web Services & Marketing Data
  • Katie Jackson—Director of Digital Marketing
  • Sherri Jackson—Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs and Professor of Psychology
  • Kristen Kirkendall—Associate Director of Graduate Admissions and Communication
  • Teresa MacGregor—Vice President, Enrollment Management
  • Will Miller—Executive Director of Institutional Analytics, Effectiveness, and Strategic Planning
  • Jeff Morris—Associate Director of Employer Engagement
  • Laura Phelps—Senior Director of Public & Media Relations
  • Bob Stewart—Senior Vice President of Enrollment Management
  • Matt Swanson—Associate Vice President for Financial Management and Controller
  • Tom Taggart—Associate Vice President of Student Experience

As part of their larger work, this taskforce undertook the following process to identify JU’s current peer and aspirant institutions.

Process

The committee’s work began by determining which variables they felt were essential to consider when determining peer and aspirant institutions. As part of initial considerations, the following seventeen variables were included in the blinded analysis (with JU’s value included within parentheses).

  1. Sector (from IPEDS)
  2. Carnegie Classification (from IPEDS)
  3. ICUF Membership (from ICUF website)
  4. Admissions Peer (from National Student Clearinghouse)
  5. U.S. News and World Report Regional University Ranking (from U.S. News and World Report)
  6. SACSCOC Member Institution (from SACSCOC directory)
  7. Pioneer Conference Member (from Pioneer Conference website)
  8. Full-Time Equivalent Enrollment (from IPEDS)
  9. Percentage of Full-Time Equivalent Enrollment—Undergraduate (from IPEDS)
  10. Tuition and Fees as a Percent of Core Revenues (from IPEDS)
  11. Endowment Assets per FTE Enrollment (from IPEDS)
  12. Instruction Expenses as a Percent of Total Core Expenses (from IPEDS)
  13. Salaries and Wages for Core Expenses as a Percent of Total Core Expenses (from IPEDS)
  14. Average Net Price for Students Awarded Grant or Scholarship Aid (from IPEDS)
  15. Full-time Retention Rate (from IPEDS)
  16. Six-year Graduation Rate (from IPEDS)
  17. Percent of Undergraduate Students Awarded Pell Grants (from IPEDS)

Peer Institution Analysis

Given the number of variables, the task force opted to assign points to institutions similar to JU. For categorical variables, they received one point for matching with JU; for rational variables, they received the point if they were +/- one-quarter of a standard deviation of the national mean from JU. The data began with 3,626 potential institutions. The table below shows the variables, JU value, and the range for which points were awarded. The final column shows the total number of institutions receiving a point in that category.

Aspirant Institution Analysis

For categorical variables, institutions received the point for matching with JU; for rational variables, they received the point if they were +/- one-quarter of a standard deviation of the national mean from JU on most variables. Given the aspirational nature of this list, we awarded points for endowment per FTE, retention, and graduation rate for campuses if they were more than a one-quarter standard deviation above JU’s current value. The data began with 3,626 potential institutions. The table below shows the variables, JU value, and the range that points were awarded for. The final column shows the total number of institutions receiving a point in that category.

 Peer Institution Identification Data Table

Variable JU Value Low   Threshold   High   Threshold   Number Receiving Point
 
Sector Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above     1,700
Carnegie Classification Master's Colleges & Universities: Larger Programs     371
ICUF Membership Member     28
Admissions Peer       16
U.S. News and World Report Regional University Ranking (45-65) Yes     90
SACSCOC Member Institution Yes     986
Pioneer Conference Member Yes     10
Full-Time Equivalent Enrollment 3,236 2,501 3,999 408
Percentage of Full-Time Equivalent Enrollment—Undergraduate 76.6 69.7 83.5 393
Tuition and Fees as a Percent of Core Revenues 74 67 81 430
Endowment Assets per FTE Enrollment $12,162 $7,163 $17,161 495
Instruction Expenses as a Percent of Total Core Expenses 46 43 49 914
Salaries and Wages for Core Expenses as a Percent of Total Core Expenses 47 45 49 1,062
Average Net Price for Students Awarded Grant or Scholarship Aid $25,674 $23,539 $26,899 275
Full-time Retention Rate 71 66 75 728
Six-year Graduation Rate 43 37 49 565
Percent of Undergraduate Students Awarded Pell Grants 28 23 33 859

 

3,361 institutions scored at least one point out of the 17 available—with the highest scoring schools receiving 11. To limit the number of institutions to be examined more closely by the committee, we chose to remove institutions that did not receive at least 7 points, were public, did not receive a point on retention or graduation (our two key variables of focus), schools with minimal graduate work, single-gender institutions, HBCUs, and schools that received more than 75% of their points from categorization variables. This left us with a list of 23 institutions to discuss by name as a committee. Through discussion, examining websites, and studying data trends, the committee selected the ten institutions listed at the end of this report.

Aspirant Institution Identification Data Table

Variable JU Value Low   Threshold   High   Threshold   Number Receiving Point
Sector Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above     1,700
Carnegie Classification Master's Colleges & Universities: Larger Programs     371
ICUF Membership Member     28
Admissions Peer        16
U.S. News and World Report Regional University Ranking (1-10)       39
SACSCOC Member Institution Yes     986
Pioneer Conference Member Yes     10
Full-Time Equivalent Enrollment 3,236 2,501 3,999 408
Percentage of Full-Time Equivalent Enrollment—Undergraduate 76.6 69.7 83.5 393
Tuition and Fees as a Percent of Core Revenues 74 67 81 430
Endowment Assets per FTE Enrollment $12,162 $17,162 $21,999 110
Instruction Expenses as a Percent of Total Core Expenses 46 43 9 914
Salaries and Wages for Core Expenses as a Percent of Total Core Expenses 47 454 49 1,062
Average Net Price for Students Awarded Grant or Scholarship Aid $25,674 $23,539 $26,899 275  
Full-time Retention Rate 71 77.1 100 973
Six-year Graduation Rate 43 54.1 100 1,065
Percent of Undergraduate Students Awarded Pell Grants 28 23 33 859

3,347 institutions scored at least one point out of the 17 available—with the highest scoring school receiving 12. To limit the number of institutions to be examined more closely by the committee, we chose to remove institutions that did not receive at least 9 points, were public, schools with minimal graduate work, and schools that received more than 75% of their points from categorization variables. This left us with a list of 16 institutions to discuss by name as a committee. Through discussion, examining websites, and studying data trends, the committee selected the ten institutions listed at the end of this report.

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