by David Safier
MAG [Maricopa Association of Governments] claims Brookings used data pulled from LinkedIn profiles to determine where students of Arizona and other institutions were living today. That included all of the online students from University of Phoenix and Grand Canyon University — more than 200,000 students in 2014 alone — into the category of Arizona residents while students.The authors of the original study went back and revised the Phoenix data to 56 percent retention for all colleges and 41 percent for four year colleges, moving Phoenix out of the bottom ten metro areas. But they didn't change their original report, they just stuck an "UPDATE" about some "good suggestions" they received at the bottom. It's not referenced in the original, so unless you read the report to the end, you'd never know they revised the numbers.
[Anubhav Bagley, MAG’s data guru] said only 8,400 University of Phoenix students of its 187,000 enrollment are Arizonans. Over the past 15 years, University of Arizona and Arizona State University between them graduated over 284,000 students.
In response to this post, Rothwell and I received a number of good suggestions about how to deepen and refine our analysis in the future. Several pointed out that Phoenix is home to the University of Phoenix, with its large online student body, many of whom don’t live in the Phoenix metro. When Rothwell redid the numbers taking this into account, Phoenix's retention rates improved to 56 percent for two- and four-year institutions and 41 percent for four-year institutions.The Republic ran another article noting the error in the original study. I haven't seen a similar correction in the Star.