One fact that has been left out of the Goshen College Fact Book is that not many students actually know what the Fact Book is, let alone have ever used it.
The GC Fact Book is an online collection of data about the college that has been gathered from various departments and offices such as the registrar’s office or the office of the vice president for finance, college relations, and admissions.
Given that it includes information on topics like enrollment, athletic records and a number of other things from the last ten years, the Fact Book serves as a way to inform those on campus and the wider public audience of the happenings at GC through numbers.
A team led by Scott Barge, interim VP for enrollment and marketing, is in charge of organizing the information in the Fact Book. “The fundamental challenge is being able to anticipate how to organize the information so that it answers people’s questions,” said Barge.
A lot of information comes in, but not all facts make it into the Fact Book. According to Barge, “like a bazillon” facts get left out because with the raw data collected, they “have the ability to find out basically anything.”
So, they focus their efforts on the most pressing statistics. “We work really hard to maintain accurate main data that we use to answer questions throughout the year,” Barge said.
This information makes it easier for people to make comparisons between GC and other institutions. And while some of these numbers the college is federally obligated to report, one of the main goals of the Fact Book is to “publish basic information on GC and make that available to a wide audience.”
The biggest stand-out fact this year had to do with the incoming first-year class. With an overall increase of 17 students and a jump of roughly 10 percent in Latino students, Barge and other departments have been sure to highlight the change.
Most of the other stats were “fairly predictable,” but Barge noted that every year, a number of people are interested in where the endowment ends up.
These facts can be used for quite a few different things.
“I hope people use it to better understand what the trends at GC are, how things have changed and how things stay the same,” said Barge.
But, the administration realizes that only “a very small handful” of students actually use the Fact Book.
“I haven’t ever used it,” said Andrew Snyder, a junior. “I’ve never needed to or thought of it if I did have a need.”
Barge hopes that it will be a “useful as a part of the work students are doing for other projects” and admits that no student is just looking at it for fun.
But, just knowing what’s out there helps.
David Zehr, a senior, said, “Now I know where to go if I have questions about those kind of things.”
If you’ve ever wondered how many GC alumni are still alive or you want to know what the percentage of Mennonites enrolled at GC was during 2007-08, you can find those answers and more in the GC Fact Book, found on the college website.