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About BPS

Each cycle of the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS) follows a cohort of students who are enrolling in postsecondary education for the first time. The study collects data on student persistence in, and completion of, postsecondary education programs, their transition to employment, demographic characteristics, and changes over time in their goals, marital status, income, and debt, among other indicators. BPS tracks studentsí paths through postsecondary education and helps answer questions of policy interest, such as why students leave school, how financial aid influences persistence and completion, and what percentages of students complete various degree programs.

Survey Design and Methodology

BPS draws its initial cohorts from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), which uses a large, nationally representative sample of postsecondary students and institutions to examine how students pay for college.

Cohort members of the most recent completed BPS study, BPS:04/09, were initially surveyed at the end of their first academic year (2003-04) and then received invitations to participate in follow-up surveys at the end of their third (2005-06) and sixth (2008-09) years after entry in to postsecondary education. The final BPS:04/09 dataset contains information on nearly 16,700 students. Prior cohorts include BPS:90/94 (around 8,000 students) and BPS:96/2001 (around 12,000 students). The current cohort, BPS12/17, began college in 2012, was followed-up in 2014, and will be followed again in 2017.