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Statistical Standards Program

Restricted Use Data Licenses

Restricted-Use Announcements

Until such time as ED Offices are fully reopened, all mail must be sent to:

IES Data Security, NCES, PCP 4165
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202

Due to COVID-19, our physical office remains operational on a limited basis while we are phasing back to full time operational status. At the present time, we have staff in the office to process paperwork and distribute data one day a week. While we continue to review all electronic submissions, please note that new applications, pending amendments requesting additional data, or amendments that require wet signatures may be delayed by one to two weeks. We will be reviewing all requests as quickly as possible in the order received. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Remote Access to Restricted Use Data Licenses is now available. It is a fee based service being offered by a contractor, the Coleridge Initiative and may require a newly signed affidavit of non-disclosure prior to approval. There will be a $1,200.00 one time setup fee, and an annual per user base fee of $265.00. All payments will be set up through the Coleridge Initiative.†At this time, the statistical packages being offered are Stata, R, and Python. Other rates, statistical software, and products may be†available through negotiation with the contractor. Access to Restricted Use Data should be done in a private setting through a secure network like a home office. By choosing Remote Access you are consenting to any new requirements or fees that the Coleridge Initiative may apply.


What are "restricted-use" data? Federal agencies collect survey data containing individually identifiable information that are confidential and protected by law. This information is not publicly released. The terms "restricted-use data" and "subject data" are used to refer to data of this type.

Why would I want restricted-use data? IES uses the restricted-use data License as a mechanism for making more detailed data available to qualified researchers. IES does this because some research projects require a level of detail that is lost in the process of protecting data files distributed to the public. Restricted-use data have a higher level of detail in the data compared to public-use data files.

Public-use data files have been anonymised with the individually identifiable information having been recoded or deleted to protect the confidentiality of the survey respondents.

Why is a License necessary? There is a set of laws that provide for the security and privacy of personal data maintained by the Federal Government (Privacy Act of 1974, as amended and Computer Security Act of 1987). In addition, the specific law (Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002) that authorizes IES to conduct research and evaluations and to collect, analyze, and disseminate education data, requires IES to protect the confidentiality of respondents' individually identifiable information.

What does a License mean? IES loans restricted-use data only to qualified organizations in the United States. Individual researchers must apply through an organization (e.g., a university, a research institution, or company). To qualify, an organization must provide a justification for access to the restricted-use data, submit the required legal documents, agree to keep the data safe from unauthorized disclosures at all times, and to participate fully in unannounced, unscheduled inspections of the researcherís office to ensure compliance with the terms of the License and the Security Plan form.

Does my organization need a License? If your work can be done with public use data, then no, you do not need a license. However, if you need the more detailed restricted use data every organization needs to sign a contract (License) prior to having access to restricted-use data. Each License must have a Principal Project Officer (PPO) who is responsible for the day-to-day operations involving the requested data.

If you work for a college or university, a state or local governmental agency, a research firm, or an analytic consulting firm, then you will need a Restricted-Use Data License.