Changes to Race/Ethnicity Reporting to IPEDS
On October 19, 2007, the U.S. Department of Education posted to the Federal Register the "Final Guidance on Maintaining, Collecting, and Reporting Racial and Ethnic Data to the U.S. Department of Education." (See the Federal Register, Volume 72, Number 202, pp. 59266-59279: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/pdf/E7-20613.pdf ). The proposed changes are necessary for the Department to implement the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) 1997 Standards for Maintaining, Collecting and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. IPEDS will adopt new aggregate categories for reporting R/E data in accordance with the final guidance.
The guidance issued by the Department covers two separate issues: (1) the collection of R/E data by institutions and (2) the reporting of aggregate data to the Department. For collecting R/E data, institutions must use a two-question format, and the Department encourages institutions to re-survey students and staff (the two-question format is as follows: The first question is whether the respondent is Hispanic/Latino. The second question is whether the respondent is from one or more races from the following list: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, White). For further details on the guidance for collecting data, please see the full Federal Register notice. For reporting aggregate data to the Department, the guidance identifies nine categories that will be used for IPEDS. The current and new race/ethnicity categories for reporting data to IPEDS are outlined below:
Educational institutions will be required to implement this guidance in order to report data for the 2010-2011 school year. Under the guidance, although not required to do so, educational institutions already collecting individual-level data in the manner specified by the notice are encouraged to immediately begin reporting aggregate data to the Department. However, because the 2007-08 IPEDS data collection year is already underway, the new R/E reporting categories will not be available for reporting in IPEDS until the 2008-09 collection year, which begins in Fall 2008.
The IPEDS Technical Review Panel (TRP) discussed the implementation of changes to race/ethnicity reporting in IPEDS in November 2006 after the Department issued preliminary guidance on August 6, 2006. Based on suggestions from that meeting of the TRP, changes to reporting race/ethnicity in IPEDS will be fully implemented as outlined below.
In the years with components that have optional reporting, institutions can report one way for one IPEDS component and another for other IPEDS components. The expectation is that most will report using new race/ethnic categories for Completions, 12-Month Enrollment, and Graduation Rates the year after they report using new race/ethnic categories for Fall Enrollment and Human Resources. The following table summarizes the proposed reporting timeline.
Additionally, the IPEDS TRP made suggestions for how IPEDS will make data collected using the combined 5+7+2 format available through the various IPEDS reporting tools. Accordingly, race/ethnicity data during the transition years will be displayed within IPEDS tools in the following way:
What are the implications of this proposal for postsecondary institutions?
New IPEDS R/E reporting will be available beginning in the next collection year (2008-09) and will be mandatory for data reported on the 2010-11 school year. Institutions are encouraged to make the transition to the new racial categories for the 2008-09 IPEDS collection year in conjunction with their state reporting systems, as appropriate. To prepare, institutions are encouraged to begin to have internal and system level discussions regarding how and when to collect R/E data under the new formats to allow for reporting to IPEDS under the timeframe outlined above. Consideration should be given to how the data will be stored; whether any mapping or bridging strategy is appropriate; how the data will be aggregated for reporting to IPEDS; how related decisions and changes in systems and processes will be documented. Institutions need to determine whether to, and if so, when they will re-survey students and employees, including whether this will be a one-time re-survey or make it part of all future registrations. They will need to determine procedures for maintaining and updating their files, as well as how to handle any missing data for students and employees who may not be at the institution at the time of the re-survey.