To date, states have been oversampled in two NPSAS studies to allow for state-level analyses. In both cases, the study was designed to ensure comparability with prior NPSAS studies in the national sample and the instrumentation to ensure that important comparisons could be made across collections.
Beginning with the 2017-18 academic year, NCES will implement a new data collection that solely leverages administrative data from postsecondary institutions and the Department of Education to provide nationally representative financial aid estimates. It is designed to enhance existing financial aid data collections to provide estimates on a 2-year cycle instead of the current 4-year cycle. Additionally, NCES anticipates that NPSAS:18-AC will have representative samples from most U.S. States. This design will allow researchers to generate state representative financial aid estimates and compare financial aid programs at the state level. This study will be nationally representative for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in public, private nonprofit, and for-profit institutions at the 4-year, 2-year, and less-than-2-year levels. It is anticipated to be state representative for all undergraduate students within a state and undergraduates enrolled in public 4-year and public 2-year institutions.
Future NPSAS data collections will follow alternating two-year cycles, with a traditional NPSAS study (with a student interview) to occur in 2016, 2020, and 2024 and a state representative NPSAS administrative collection to occur in 2018, 2022, and 2026. Studies with state representative administrative samples will be designated with “AC” at the end of the name (e.g., NPSAS:18-AC or NPSAS-AC) to indicate that the collection only includes administrative student records.