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PEDAR: Research Methodology What Colleges Contribute: Institutional Aid to Full-Time Undergraduates Attending 4-Year Colleges and Universities
The National Postsecondary Student Aid Study
The Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study
Accuracy of Estimtes
Adjustments for Inflation
Data Analysis System
Statistical Procedures
Differences Between Means
Linear Trends
Bivariate Correlations
Multivariate Analysis
Executive Summary
Full Report (PDF)
Executive Summary (PDF)
 The National Postsecondary Student Aid Study

The National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS) is a comprehensive nationwide study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to determine how students and their families pay for postsecondary education.1 It also describes demographic and other characteristics of students enrolled. The NPSAS study is based on a nationally representative sample of all students in postsecondary education institutions, including undergraduate, graduate, and first-professional students. Information is collected from institutions, student interviews, and government data files. For this study, data were analyzed for undergraduates from three administrations of the NPSAS survey: NPSAS:93, NPSAS:96, and NPSAS:2000. These surveys represent more than 16 million undergraduates who were enrolled at some time between July 1 and June 30 of the survey years and, together, provide a picture of recent patterns and trends in the awarding of institutional aid.

For NPSAS:93, the institutional weighted response rate was 88.2 percent and the overall effective response rate for student interviews was 71.4 percent;2 for NPSAS:96, the institutional weighted response rate was 93.1 percent and the overall effective response rate for student interviews was 76.2 percent;3 and for NPSAS:2000, the institutional response rate was 97 percent and the weighted overall student interview response rate was 65.6 percent.4 Because the student telephone interview response rate for NPSAS:2000 was less than 70 percent in some institutional sectors, an analysis was conducted to determine if Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) estimates were significantly biased due to CATI nonresponse. Considerable information was known for CATI nonrespondents, and these data were used to analyze and reduce the bias. The distributions of several variables using the design-based, adjusted weights for study respondents (study weights) were found to be biased before CATI nonresponse adjustments. The CATI nonresponse and poststratification procedures, however, reduced the bias for these variables, and the remaining relative bias ranged from 0 to 0.35 percent.5

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