Researching and Data Dive Exercise

Next steps: Diving into the data on many levels

What we found out:

  • Of the 15 4-year public universities in Michigan (16 if you include Kendal as a separate school) costs range widely based on tuition and fees, total costs
  • The data is old: It’s from 2011-2012. We need updated data
  • There are a lot of questions about room and board numbers, total costs
  • We don’t know what other factors might play into the costs
  • There are various costs factors that play into the total costs

Questions you had based on the data set we examined:

  • How does quality play into the equation?
  • How is the room and board figured out?
  • What has happened to tuition rates and costs in the past 5, 10, 15 years?  
  • What other information do we need?
  • How do we get it?
  • Where do we look?
  • Who do we talk with? How do you find these people?

Sources to consider:

Google Advanced Search

Individual school sites — Admissions and Financial Aid offices

Michigan Department of Education data

List of colleges and universities


Financial aid packages


U.S. Education Department –data

College scoreboard

Organizations to contact:

Michigan Association of State Universities

Research worksheet

Use this source or others:


How many public 4-year schools in Michigan?

How many private 4-year schools in Michigan?

What is the average graduation rate among public? Private?

How many Michigan 4-year schools offer an engineering degree? Which one has the highest graduation rate? What is your source for this information?

How does this compare nationwide? What are the top three schools nationwide with the top graduation rates? What are those rates?

Which school has the highest salary after attending? How much?

How does that compare with the average salary after attending a Michigan school and getting an engineering degree?


How does that compare nationwide? What is the top salary after attending, and what school?


What is the main phone number for the Michigan Department of Education?


What can you tell me about postsecondary success rates in Michigan? How are they calculated? If you compare success rates between U of M Dearborn and U of M Ann Arbor, what do you notice? What are the respective rates and times? What possible reasons might there be for the difference? How might you investigate this?


After answering these questions, start diving into the sources above and others you can find to start asking questions of your own.

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