The National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (NPEC) was established by NCES in 1995 as a voluntary organization that encompasses all sectors of the postsecondary education community including federal agencies, postsecondary institutions, associations and other organizations with a major interest in postsecondary education data collection. NPEC's mission is to "promote the quality, comparability and utility of postsecondary data and information that support policy development at the federal, state, and institution levels." NPEC is composed of two panels — NPEC - IPEDS and NPEC - Sample Surveys.
NCES has assigned NPEC the specific responsibility for developing a research and development agenda for the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). IPEDS is the core postsecondary education data collection program for NCES. NPEC also intermittently produces products for use by postsecondary data providers, users, and institutional representatives.
NPEC - Sample Surveys (NPEC-S) is designed to provide high level guidance on the evolution of a suite of studies that include the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS), the Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B), and other survey and administrative data collections.