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Complete Data Files

This data tool allows you to download data files, by survey and year, in zipped comma separated values (CSV) format.

Step 1: Getting started

For all first time tasks within the Data Center, except Customize DFR, you will be asked to indicate the type of data you wish to access: Preliminary/Provisional Release Data or Final Release Data.

1.1 Use Preliminary/Provisional Release Data

This option allows you to access either Provisional Release Data or Preliminary Release Data (only available for most current collection year).

1.1.1 Preliminary Release Data

Preliminary Release Data are data that have completed an initial review and validation process. However, imputed data for non-responding institutions are not included. If Preliminary Release Data are available, it will be marked with a tilde (~) and automatically selected. Preliminary Release Data are only available for the most recent data year, and remain available until the Provisional Data are released. Due to the nature of the data release cycle, Preliminary Release Data are not always available. For reference, a list of the IPEDS data components with Preliminary Release Data available is displayed along with the relevant data year, as shown below:

1.1.2 Provisional Release Data

Provisional Release Data have undergone full NCES quality control procedures. These data have been imputed for nonresponding institutions but are still subject to additional revisions that may be submitted by institutions during the subsequent data collection year through the IPEDS Prior Year Revision (PYR) System. For reference, a list of the IPEDS survey components with Provisional Release Data available is displayed along with the relevant data year, as shown below:

1.2 Use final release data

This option allows you to access Final Release Data.

1.2.1 Final Release Data

Final (Revised) Release Data are data released the year following the initial collection, after institutions have been given an opportunity to revise their data if they believe it was inaccurately reported in the prior year through the IPEDS PYR System. Final release data can be used when the most up to date data are required; however, these data may not match the tables from the NCES First Look publication.

Once you have finished making selections, click Continue at the bottom of the screen, as shown below:

Complete Data Files image

Step 2: Selecting the Data

  • When the Complete Data Files main screen opens, select a data year and IPEDS survey of interest. Then click Continue, as shown below.

    Complete Data Files image
  • A list of available files will be displayed on the next screen, as shown below.

    Complete Data Files image

Step 3: Downloading the File

  • Choose the file to download by reading the description in the available titles. Then, click on the link in that row corresponding to the column header of the type of file/information desired to download.

    • To download and view the survey files in basic CSV format use the main download link in the Data File column.
    • For files compatible with the Stata statistical software package, use the alternate download link in the Stata Data File column.
    • To download files with the SPSS, SAS, or STATA (.do) file extension for use with statistical software packages, use the download link in the Programs column.
    • To download the data Dictionary for the selected file, click on the corresponding link in the far right column of the screen. The data dictionary serves as a reference for using and interpreting the data within a particular survey file. This includes the names, definitions, and formatting conventions for each table, field, and data element within the file, important business rules, and information on any relationships to other IPEDS data.
  • For statistical read programs to work properly, both the data file and the corresponding read program file must be downloaded to the same subdirectory on the computer’s hard drive. Download the data file first; then click on the corresponding link in the Programs column to download the desired read program file to the same subdirectory.
  • When viewing downloaded survey files, categorical variables are identified using codes instead of labels. Labels for these variables are available in both the data read program files and data dictionary for each file; however, for files that automatically incorporate this information you will need to select the Custom Data Files option.
  • When finished with this task, use the Main Menu to navigate to a different task in the Use the Data portal; or, click on Start Over from the navigation menu at the top of the screen to end the current session.