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Almanac 2021-22

The Chronicle’s annual compendium of data

A view onto the main quad from a classroom in Lincoln Hall on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign during the fall 2020 semester.  Classroom capacities were restricted and students were prevented from sitting more than a few feet from one another.

The urge to measure just how higher education is doing is particularly strong as colleges prepare to begin yet another academic year under the specter of a global pandemic.

The Chronicle‘s 2021-22 Almanac provides a snapshot in data of how colleges and universities have fared, along with a glimpse of the issues and trends they might wrangle with in the future. We’ve provided a portrait in numbers of not only institutions but also their employees and students. We’ve also shined a light on college finances — the money they make, manage, and spend.

This year we used data to capture some of the most noteworthy ways colleges have navigated what is likely to be a forever-altered higher-education landscape.

Explore the sections below, and visit The Chronicle Store to get your copy of the print or interactive PDF editions. You can also purchase data sets from which the tables and charts were produced.

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  • Data Points

    How has the drop in international students affected the economy? Who would benefit from the federal government’s plan to cancel $10,000 in student-loan debt per person? How have community-college students fared during the pandemic?
  • Faculty

    Learn about faculty pay and faculty diversity, who makes up the professoriate, and more in this year’s faculty data.
  • Students

    Learn about student characteristics, enrollment, aid, and more in this year’s students data.
  • Outcomes

    Learn about degrees, graduates, and debt in this year’s outcomes data.
  • Administration

    Learn about executive pay, staff pay, staff characteristics, and more in this year’s administration data.
  • Finances

    Learn about tuition and fees, donations and endowments, and revenue and expenditures in this year’s finances data.
  • Compare the States

    Discover how the states and the District of Columbia compare with each other and with the nation on demographics, state residents’ highest level of education, faculty pay, college enrollment, diversity, graduation rates, tuition costs, state aid, and more.

About the photos

Charles (Stretch) Ledford
Charles (Stretch) Ledford

By mid-January 2020, when Covid-19 was a blip on the radar for most Americans, it was part of the daily dialog in my family. Our 10-year-old daughter was born in Hubei Province, which includes Wuhan. I felt the world was on the precipice of an event unlike anything any of us had lived through, so I began filing audio stories for our local public-radio station and NPR’s Morning Edition, exploring the anxiety within the local Chinese and the Chinese American community.

Winter turned into a frightening spring and spring into a dolorous summer. In late July, I turned from audio reporting to photography. The Washington Post published a series of my photographs under the headline “Campus Life Under the Shadow of a Pandemic.”

I continued to photograph the academic year from hell. The more I explored, the more I realized that though we were collectively living under the shadow of Covid-19, each of us was also living within our own personal shadow — a flat, dark, ethereal space within which we would never have chosen to subsist but to which we cling because it was the closest approximation of normalcy we could find. It is this tenebrous existence, and the grief for what we had known, or hoped for, and in either case lost, that I work to evoke through my photographs.

Charles (Stretch) Ledford is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a photojournalist and multimedia producer.

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A version of this article appeared in the Aug. 20, 2021 issue.