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Postsecondary Education

NCES 2006-160
May 2006

5.3 Optional Data Elements

Optional data elements contribute to greater effectiveness by providing additional data that increase the overall value of the database for intrainstitutional analysis and organize the data for external (interinstitutional) reporting. (Appendix A contains a basic framework for external sharing or reporting of summary data drawn from building inventory and room inventory data sets maintained by institutions or system- or state-level offices.)

In this section, several additional data elements commonly used in facilities inventory systems are explained. The need for and the mix of optional data elements vary and are specific to each institution. As a general rule, the need for a specific type of optional data will be driven by two factors: first, what the institution needs to analyze its inventory and make decisions about its facilities; second, what types of reporting and accountability are required of the institution.