Eight Days a Week | Information Visualization

Assignment for "Information Visualization and Presentation," Spring 2015

Teammates: Jordan Shedlock, Ellen Van Wyk

Goal

Understand how possible it is for a nontraditional student working minimum wage to pay for a college degree in the Bay Area, which is particularly pricey. How affordable is it to go to college while working a minimum wage job? And, given the debt a student-worker would accrue, is the degree worth it?

Role

  • Site layout, visualization integration
  • Visualizations: “Paying Your Way on Minimum Wage" | “Gap Between Working Hours and Cost of Education” Bubbles | “Cost of Education Covered by Minimum Wage” | “Need-Based Aid” (hours of work to cover costs graphics) | “So, Is It Worth It?” | “Wage Gap” Infographic

Technique

We decided to address these two questions by creating a narrative structure and walking through a series of visualizations. We broke this into three parts.

  1. The first section looks at the extremes: how feasible would it be for a minimum wage worker to pay for college without aid, and graduate debt-free?

  2. After making a point about the severity of the gap between school costs and annual income working full-time on minimum wage, the second section moves closer to a real-life snapshot. It examines how much a worker could afford by working a part-time schedule, and what type of aid is offered.

  3. The final section looks at whether a college degree is “worth it,” given the short-term and long-term outlook it offers.