Project Payback Analysis and Organizational Feasibility of Enrollment System

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U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences NCES 2005–160

Feasibility of a Student Unit Record System Within the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System Research and Development Report

March 2005

Alisa F. Cunningham
Institute for Higher Education Policy

John Milam
HigherEd.org, Inc.

Cathy Statham
Project Officer National Center for Education Statistics

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Margaret Spellings Secretary INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION SCIENCES Grover J. Whitehurst Director NATIONAL CENTER FOR EDUCATION STATISTICS Grover J. Whitehurst Acting Commissioner The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting, analyzing, and reporting data related to education in the United States and other nations. It fulfills a congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze, and report full and complete statistics on the condition of education in the United States; conduct and publish reports and specialized analyses of the meaning and significance of such statistics; assist state and local education agencies in improving their statistical systems; and review and report on education activities in foreign countries. NCES activities are designed to address high priority education data needs; provide consistent, reliable, complete, and accurate indicators of education status and trends; and report timely, useful, and high quality data to the U.S. Department of Education, the Congress, the states, other education policymakers, practitioners, data users, and the general public. We strive to make our products available in a variety of formats and in language that is appropriate to a variety of audiences. You, as our customer, are the best judge of our success in communicating information effectively. If you have any comments or suggestions about this or any other NCES product or report, we would like to hear from you. Please direct your comments to: National Center for Education Statistics Institute of Education Sciences U.S. Department of Education 1990 K Street NW Washington, DC 20006–5651 March 2005 The NCES World Wide Web Home Page is: http://nces.ed.gov The NCES World Wide Web Electronic Catalog is: http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch Suggested Citation Cunningham, A. F., and Milam, J. (2005). Feasibility of a Student Unit Record System Within the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (NCES 2005–160). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. For ordering information on this report, write: U.S. Department of Education ED Pubs P.O. Box 1398 Jessup, MD 20794–1398 or call toll free 1–877–4ED–PUBS; or order online at http://www.edpubs.org Content Contact: Cathy Statham (202) 502–7383 cathy.statham@ed.gov

Executive Summary
This report examines the feasibility of implementing a student unit record (UR) system to replace the student–related components of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). The feasibility study was initiated by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a part of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) within the U.S. Department of Education (ED), in response to growing interest within the postsecondary education community for more accurate measures of net price and graduation rates, especially measures that take into account institutional mission and student mobility. This interest parallels a growing congressional desire to hold postsecondary institutions accountable for student outcomes. private institutions, or students who leave an institution and transfer across state lines. Many governmental and other organizations also maintain UR systems on specific groups of students. For example, the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) within the office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) compiles information on all recipients of federal student loans, including verification of enrollment by academic term. In addition, the National...
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