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Learn the purpose of the National Student Clearinghouse’s Postsecondary Data Partnership.

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In this tutorial, we discuss the purpose of the National Student Clearinghouse’s Postsecondary Data Partnership. ​

Over 26 million students are enrolled in a U.S. postsecondary institution annually with most of those enrolled in an associate or bachelor’s degree program.  ​

An associate degree is designed to be completed in two years while a bachelor’s degree can be completed in four years, but most students don’t meet those timelines. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 21% of students completed their associate degree in two years and 42% completed their bachelor’s degree in 4 years.  ​

Even when we double that time, only 39% of students completed an associate degree in four years while 63% completed their bachelor’s degrees in 8 years.​

Why does it matter how long it takes a student to complete their credential?  Completing a credential in a shorter timeframe can have a significant impact on the student. For example, students who complete on time can enter the workforce earlier which can impact their career progression and life-time earnings.  In addition, taking less time to complete means they will likely incur less student financial debt. ​

There can be a cost savings for institutions whose students complete more quickly since the institution may need fewer support services.  In addition, some institutional programs have limited space.  Students who take longer to complete may prevent new students from entering the program.​

There are also positive implications to the community.  Communities where people have earned credentials are more likely to have lower unemployment rates which leads to a higher tax base.  And individuals who have completed a credential are more likely to participate in civic engagement activities.​

So, how do we help students progress in college?  The first step is to understand that different students may need different kinds of support.​

Some students may need to start with developmental coursework.  ​

Some students may need technical support.​

Some students may need financial support.​

Some students may need academic support.  ​

By using data, we can proactively identify student populations and intervene to provide needed supports for success.​

Or, to put it simply, access to data to inform our decisions should lead to higher levels of student success.​

The challenge is that most faculty, staff, and administrators do not have easy access to student success data in formats that allow them to answer their own questions.​

And the data they do have access to, like retention and completion rates, lack insight into the student experience.​

According to the 2018 National Survey of Institutional Research Offices conducted by the Association for Institutional Research, 58% of Directors of IR reported that their institution had insufficient data capacity to meet the needs of its stakeholders.  ​

And few predict that institutional data capacity will improve soon.​

If institutional data capacity is unlikely to grow, then we must look outside the institution. And that’s where the National Student Clearinghouse can help.​

The Clearinghouse has developed a suite of student success platforms to help higher education better understand the outcomes of college students. ​

The first platform is Student Tracker which is a nationwide source for college enrollment and degree data.​

Next is Reverse Transfer which is a national automated platform for exchanging reverse transfer student data.​

And the third platform is the Postsecondary Data Partnership which is a nationwide initiative that helps institutions more efficiently gain a comprehensive picture of student momentum, progress, and outcomes.​

The Postsecondary Data Partnership is truly a partnership. The Clearinghouse works with dozens of organizations across the country to optimize the data, process, and reports. Those partners include national organizations and associations, national and regional initiatives, research and policy organizations, and foundations.  ​

In short, the Postsecondary Data Partnership:​

  • Democratizes data by providing access to institutional stakeholders;​
  • Supports student success by helping stakeholders identify equity and achievement gaps between student populations,​
  • And reduces the reporting burden on data and analytics units like institutional research and effectiveness.​

But its true strength is its ability to put easy-to-read data into the hands of institutional stakeholders and decision makers so they can directly impact the student experience. ​

Ultimately, the Postsecondary Data Partnership is dedicated to the idea that better data helps higher education professionals develop actionable insights and make informed decisions to support student success.​

To learn more about this project, and its partners, please visit the National Student Clearinghouse website. Thank you joining us.​

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