Skip Navigation

Common Core of Data (CCD)

1. Overview

CCD collects data through these major components:
  • Public Elementary/ Secondary School Universe Survey
  • Local Education Agency Universe Survey (i.e., school district survey)
  • State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/ Secondary Education (i.e., state aggregate nonfiscal survey)
  • National Public Education Financial Survey (i.e., state-level financial survey)
  • School District Finance Survey
  • Dropout and Completers

The Common Core of Data (CCD) is the National Center of Education Statistics’ (NCES) primary database on public elementary and secondary education in the United States. Every year the CCD collects information from the universe of state education agencies (SEAs) on all public elementary and secondary schools and education agencies in the United States. The CCD provides descriptive data about staff and students at the school, school district, and state levels. Information about revenues and expenditures is collected at the school district and state levels. The integrated CCD was first implemented in the 1986–87 school year.


To provide basic statistical information on all children in this country receiving a public education from prekindergarten through grade 12 and information on the funds collected and expended for providing public elementary and secondary education. The specific objectives of the CCD are to (1) provide an official listing of public elementary and secondary schools and education agencies in the nation, which can be used to select samples for other NCES surveys; and (2) provide basic information and descriptive statistics on public elementary and secondary schools and schooling.


There are six components to the CCD: the Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey, Local Education Agency Universe Survey, State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education, National Public Education Financial Survey (NPEFS), School District Finance Survey, and Dropout and Completers Survey. The CCD surveys consist of data submitted annually to NCES by state education agencies in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools,¹ the Department of Defense Education Activity, Puerto Rico, and the four outlying U.S. Island Areas (American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).

Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey. This survey collects information on all public elementary and secondary schools in the United States. There were 98,456 operating public elementary/secondary schools in school year (SY) 2015–16; this number includes 1,253 new schools that opened for the first time States reported that 1,160 schools closed since SY 2014–15. Most operating schools were regular schools (89,644) that were primarily responsible for instruction in the standard curriculum as well as other areas. An additional 2,011 schools focused primarily on special education services; 1,419 schools were identified as vocational schools; and 5,382 were identified as alternative education schools.

Data include the school's mailing address, telephone number, operating status, and type ("regular" or focused on a special area such as vocational education). The survey also collects the student enrollment (membership) for every grade taught in the school; number of students in each of seven racial/ethnic groups; number of students eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch (FRPL) programs; and number of classroom teachers, reported as full-time equivalents (FTEs).

In the 1998–99 school year, several variables were added: location address (if different from mailing address); Title I, magnet, and charter school status; number of students eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch programs; number of migrant students enrolled the previous year (although this variable was later removed); and enrollment broken out by race and sex within grade.

Starting with SY 2014–15, the geographic data elements (latitude/longitude, county, congressional district, locale type) previously included on the LEA and School universe files are published separately by NCES' geography program.

Starting with SY 2014–15, data for grade 13 and adult education are now included in the CCD. In SY 2014–15, 109 schools in 5 states reported offering a grade 13. Adult education was offered by fewer than 500 LEAs and 600 schools in 10 states.

Local Education Agency Universe Survey. This survey serves as a directory of basic information on local education agencies (LEAs).  There were 18, 328 operating LEAs in SY 2015–16, including 274 new agencies that opened for the first time. States reported that 195 LEAs closed since SY 2014–15. Most operating agencies were regular ones (13, 584) that were responsible for educating students residing within their jurisdiction. A total of 1, 377 operating agencies were supervisory unions (218) or regional education service agencies (1,159) that typically provided services to other LEAs. A total of 2, 964 were independent charter agencies in which all the associated schools were charter schools. An additional 403 agencies were operated by state (263) or federal and other agencies (140).

CCD collects the LEA mailing address, telephone number, and type. The survey includes, for the current year, the total number of students enrolled (membership) in prekindergarten through grade 12 (with counts within grade level by race/ethnicity and sex); number of ungraded students; number of English language learner (ELL) students served in appropriate programs; and number of instructional, support, and administrative staff. It includes, for the previous year, the number of high school graduates, other completers, and grade 7–12 dropouts.


State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education. This survey collects information on all students and staff aggregated to the state level, including number of students by grade level, and within grade level, by race/ethnicity and sex; counts of FTE staff by instructional, support, and administrative staff, and high school completers by race/ethnicity. Through school year 2005–06, data on high school completers and dropouts were collected for the previous year. The collection cycle for school year 2006–07 was a transition year when both prior– and current-year data on high school completers and dropouts were collected. Since 2006–07, the high school completion and dropout data have been separated from the data on student enrollment and staff; as such, student enrollment and staffing data have been released as a standalone data file since 2006–07.

National Public Education Financial Survey (NPEFS). This survey collects detailed finance data at the state level, including average daily attendance, revenues by source (local, state, federal), and expenditures by function (instruction, support services, and noninstruction) and object (salaries, supplies, etc.). It also reports capital outlay and debt service expenditures. Revenues and expenditures are audited after the close of the fiscal year and are then submitted to NCES by each state education agency. In FY 14, the 50 states and the District of Columbia reported $623.2billion in revenues collected for public elementary and secondary education. Total revenues increased by 1.6 percent (from $613.2 to $623.2billion) for FY 14 compared to FY 13. Current expenditures increased 1.7 percent (from $544.2 to $553.5billion) for FY 14 compared to FY 13 (after adjusting for inflation).

The NPEFS underwent a major revision in fiscal year (FY) 1989, acquiring its present name in that year and greatly increasing the number of data items collected. Since that year, additional items have been added to and deleted from the survey. In the FY 89 data collection, NCES also began providing “crosswalk” software to assist states in their reporting and to improve the comparability of data across states. This software converts a state’s existing accounting reports to uniform federal standards, as described in the NCES accounting handbook (Allison, Honegger, and Johnson 2009). The most recent change in the NPEFS is the addition of teacher salary expenditures broken out by program (regular, special education, vocational, and other education program), as well as the addition of textbook expenditures. Data on expenditures from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was collected and reported separately for fiscal years 2009 through 2014. For additional information on NPEFS data collections, see also


School District Finance Survey. This survey collects detailed data by school district, including revenues by source, expenditures by function and subfunction, and enrollment. The national median of total revenues per pupil across all LEAs was $12,131 in FY 14, which represents an increase of 1.6 percent from FY 13, reversing a decrease of 1.7 percent between FY 12 and FY 13, after adjusting for inflation. The national median of current expenditures per pupil among all LEAs was $10,311 in FY 14, an increase of 1.0 percent from FY 13, and reversing a decrease of 0.5 percent between FY 12 and FY 13.

These data are collected by the Governments Division of the U.S. Census Bureau and are released as the Annual Survey of Local Government Finances (F-33). Before FY 95, data were collected from all districts in decennial census years (e.g., 1990) and years ending in 2 and 7, and from a large sample in other years. The F-33 was first conducted in FY 80. Beginning with FY 95, detailed fiscal data on revenues and expenditures have been collected for all school districts providing public education to students in prekindergarten through grade 12. These data can be linked to the nonfiscal data collected in the Local Education Agency Universe Survey. Student counts and amounts of debt at the beginning and end of the fiscal year are also provided. NCES began to substantially support the F-33 in FY 92.

In FY 97, two variables, Payments to Private Schools and Payments to Public Charter Schools, were added. In FY 1998, two variables that describe the nature of school districts and their relation to other surveys and data files were added: AGCHRT and CENFILE. AGCHRT identifies school districts with charter schools, and CENFILE identifies those districts that are available in the Census Bureau's version of the F-33 school district file. Similar to changes in the NPEFS, teacher salary and textbook exhibit items were added to the F-33 beginning with the FY 04 collection. Special exhibit items are separate data items that are included in, but do not summarize to, other data items. Starting with the FY 05 collection, the data item Federal Revenue—Bilingual Education (B11) was moved from the "federal revenue direct" section to the "federal revenue through the state" section. This change was made as a result of changes in the allocation of bilingual education funds by the U.S. Department of Education. In the FY 06 collection, four new local revenue items were added: rents and royalties, sale of property, fines and forfeits, and private contributions. Data on expenditures from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was collected and reported separately for fiscal years 2009 through 2014.For additional information on state fiscal data reports, see also


Dropout and Completers. Since 2007–08, the high school dropout and completion data have been separated from the LEA universe survey data and released as standalone data files Dropout data were first collected in the 1992–93 CCD, reflecting dropouts for the 1991–92 school year. In 2006–07, the CCD collected both the prior– and current–year number of high school graduates, other completers, and grade 7–12 dropouts. Since 2007–08, however, only current–year data on high school completers and dropouts have been collected.

Teacher Compensation Survey. This survey was a research and development effort by CCD. It was administered for the school years 2006–06 through 2010–11. The TCS collected total compensation, teacher status, and demographic data about individual teachers from multiple states. NCES launched the pilot Teacher Compensation Survey (TCS) data collection in 2007, with seven states volunteering to provide administrative records for school year (SY) 2005–06. The TCS expanded to 17 states reporting SY 2006–07 and SY 2007–08 data. Maximum participation was achieved with the SY 2009–10 collection when 26 states submitted data. The TCS file can be merged with the CCD Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey file. Unique ID numbers are used to track teachers within states over time. The data are released as a restricted-use file, available to researchers with an IES data license. The data items on the restricted–use file include: Teacher ID, NCES School ID, FTE, base salary, total salary, employee benefits, years of teaching experience, highest degree earned, race, age, and teacher status codes. Teachers at more than one school will have a record for each school they teach in, and the FTE and salary values are for the teacher at that school only. Summary descriptive statistics are released in public use files. The public use files include teachers’ mean base salary, level of education, and mean base salary by varying levels of experience at the school and LEA level.


Annual. Some of the component surveys were initiated during the 1930s. In its integrated form, the CCD was introduced in the 1986–87 school year.

Data Availability

Public-use data files for CCD through the 2015–16 data collection can be obtained at

1 The BIE assumed administration of these schools from the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 2006.