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The B&B studies follow students who complete their baccalaureate degrees. The students are initially identified as being in their last year of undergraduate studies in the NPSAS surveys. These students are asked questions about their future employment and education expectations, as well as about their undergraduate education. In later follow-ups, students are asked questions about their job search activities and education and employment experiences after graduation. Individuals who had shown an interest in becoming teachers in NPSAS are asked additional questions about their pursuit of teaching, and if teaching, about their current teaching position. In the first B&B study, about 11,000 students were identified in NPSAS:93 as completing their degree in the 1992-93 academic year. B&B followed up with these students in 1994 (B&B:93/94), 1997 (B&B:93/97), and 2003 (B&B:93/2003). The second B&B cohort began with NPSAS:2000 and included only one follow-up, 1 year later in 2001 (B&B:2000/01). The third B&B cohort was identified in NPSAS:08 and was followed up in 2009, 2012, and 2018. Data from 2009 and 2012 follow-up surveys are available. Data for the 2018 follow-up survey will be available in spring of 2021. A new B&B cohort was identified in NPSAS:16 and was followed up with in 2017 and the four year follow-up ended in early 2021 and data processing is currently being conducted.

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The BPS studies follow students from when they first begin their postsecondary education. The students are initially identified as being first-time beginners of undergraduate studies in the NPSAS surveys. These students are asked questions about their experiences during, and transitions through, postsecondary education and into the labor force, as well as about family formation. Transfers, persisters, stopouts/dropouts, and vocational completers are among those included in the studies. In the first BPS study, about 10,600 students were identified in NPSAS:90 as being first-time beginning postsecondary students during the academic year 1989-90. BPS followed up with these students in 1992 (BPS:90/92) and in 1994 (BPS:90/94). A second cohort of first-time, beginning students was identified in NPSAS:96, with follow-ups conducted in 1998 (BPS:96/98) and in 2001 (BPS:96/2001). The third BPS cohort was identified in NPSAS:04 and was followed up with in 2006 and 2009. A new cohort was identified in NPSAS:12, and then followed up with in 2014 (BPS:12/14) and 2017 (BPS:12/17). Data are available for the earlier cohorts and for BPS:12/14. Data collection for BPS:12/17 ended and data are currently being processed.

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The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act mandates that "as a regular part of its assessments, the National Center for Education Statistics shall collect and report information on career and technical education for a nationally representative sample of students." To meet this requirement, NCES uses the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Statistics system. CTE Statistics relies on existing NCES surveys to provide data on CTE from students, faculty, and schools at the secondary and (subbaccalaureate) postsecondary levels, as well as on adults’ work-related education, training, and skills.

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The HS&B describes the activities of seniors and sophomores as they progressed through high school, postsecondary education, and into the workplace. The data span 1980 through 1992 and include parent, teacher, high school transcripts, student financial aid records, and postsecondary transcripts in addition to student questionnaires and interviews.

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The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), established as the core postsecondary education data collection program for NCES, is a system of surveys designed to collect data from all primary providers of postsecondary education. IPEDS is a single, comprehensive system designed to encompass all institutions and educational organizations whose primary purpose is to provide postsecondary education. The IPEDS system is built around a series of interrelated surveys to collect institution-level data in such areas as enrollments, program completions, faculty, staff, finances, and academic libraries.

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The Interagency Working Group on Expanded Measures of Enrollment and Attainment (GEMEnA) is pursuing four strands of work designed to improve the federal government’s ability to measure how adults acquire the skills and credentials needed for work, including occupational certificates, the attainment and maintenance of certification and licensing, on-the-job training, and basic skills development.

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The NLS-72 describes the transition of young adults from high school through postsecondary education and the workplace. The data span 1972 through 1986 and include postsecondary transcripts.

Visit the National Longitudinal Study of the H.S. Class of 1972 Homepage


The NPSAS is a comprehensive study that examines how students and their families pay for postsecondary education. It includes nationally representative samples of undergraduate and graduate students, as well as students attending public and private less-than-2-year institutions, community colleges, 4-year colleges, and major universities. Both students who receive financial aid and those who do not receive financial aid participate in NPSAS. NPSAS has been conducted every 3 to 4 years since 1987. Student interviews and administrative records are used to provide exceptional detail concerning student financial aid. The latest data are available for the 2015-16 academic year. Data collection for 2019-20 has ended and data are currently being processed.

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The National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF) was a nationally representative sample of full-and part-time faculty and instructional staff at public and private not-for-profit 2- and 4-year institutions in the United States, designed to provide data about faculty and instructional staff to postsecondary education researchers and policymakers. The study was initially conducted during the 1987-88 school year and was repeated in 1992-93, 1998-99, and 2003-04.

There are no plans to repeat the study. Rather, NCES plans to provide technical assistance to state postsecondary data systems and to encourage the development of robust connections between faculty and student data systems so that key questions concerning faculty, instruction, and student outcomes – such as persistence and completion – can be addressed.

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The purpose of the PEDAR program is to provide a series of analysis reports that focus on postsecondary education policy issues, and to develop an information system that organizes postsecondary data sets and analyses. The crosscutting work done in this program takes advantage of multiple education data sources, especially data from recently completed surveys.

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NCES has established PEQIS to collect timely data on focused issues needed for program planning and policy development with a minimum burden on respondents. In addition to obtaining information on emerging issues quickly, PEQIS surveys are also used to assess the feasibility of developing large-scale data collection efforts on a given topic or to supplement other NCES postsecondary surveys. PEQIS employs a standing sample (panel) of approximately 1,600 postsecondary education institutions at the 2-year and 4-year level. The nationally representative panel includes public and private colleges and universities that award associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees.

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Undergraduate postsecondary education transcript collections are conducted as components of several NCES studies that include elementary, secondary, and postsecondary students. These data provide a unique opportunity for analysts to examine student course-taking patterns, credit transfer, and postsecondary education outcomes. Each postsecondary transcript study is associated with a major NCES data collection.

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The U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES) awarded grants to 41 states and the District of Columbia to aid them in the design and implementation of statewide longitudinal data systems. These systems are intended to enhance the ability of states to efficiently and accurately manage, analyze, and use education data, including individual student records. The data systems developed with funds from these grants should help states, districts, schools, and teachers make data-driven decisions to improve student learning, as well as facilitate research to increase student achievement and close achievement gaps.

Visit the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant Program Homepage