Our Transformational 25-Year Journey in Support of Education
By Rick Torres, President & CEO, National Student Clearinghouse
Throughout 2018, the National Student Clearinghouse has been celebrating its 25th anniversary. It has been my distinct honor and privilege to serve as its CEO for the past decade. Our mission of service to the education, workforce and learner communities continues today anchored by our founding principles: We are a nonprofit dedicated to meeting our data and service commitments in a data eco-system that embodies trust, security, privacy, and transparency as its cornerstone elements.
Clearinghouse’s Unique Place within the Education Industry
Institutional Impact: From humble beginnings in 1993 as a business process outsource solution, the Clearinghouse has evolved to an organization that serves nearly 20,000 education institutions that support the learning journeys of more than 20 million learners annually. We have worked tirelessly on behalf of our institutions, as their agent, to simplify data and reporting burdens to federal agencies, accreditors, state education authorities, and many other authorities.
Institutions turn to the Clearinghouse to provide the clearest view of their impact on learners. For thousands of institutions this has translated into a more informed view of their success to their stakeholders (such as Boards of Trustees, state education authorities and students), and just as importantly, informs the programming and enrollment management decisions they make in support of their respective missions. Along the way, we have collectively saved our participating institutions billions of dollars through our data reporting, data exchange and research service platforms, which have been provided at no charge to the higher education community.
Learner Trajectory: The Clearinghouse enables thousands of outreach organizations to measure the impact of their interventions on learning trajectories. Our benchmark reports allow them to measure success at a regional and national basis. There is nothing more gratifying than hearing the thousands of stories from outreach organizations on how the Clearinghouse enables them to quickly see the impact of interventions. The success stories that demonstrate the improvement of trajectories of millions of learners is a powerful consequence of the Clearinghouse’s evolution. In addition, through our transcript and verification services, we support millions of learners each year as they enter and transition across our nation’s workforce.
Moving into the Future: The most important aspect of our journey has been the energy and commitment of the Clearinghouse staff to support our stakeholders. It gives me great pride to work every day with such a dedicated group of people who care so much about what they do. Their combined efforts and commitment are the “secret sauce” that enables the Clearinghouse to sustain our mission achievements and successfully evolve our services to meet new needs.
As we move into the future, the Clearinghouse will focus on providing continued access to a growing network of trusted data, related data services (such as, reporting and data exchange services), and informing deeper insights through data and reporting collaboratives. We will continuously work with our institutional participants to link the education, workforce, and learner communities through data that supports their respective needs to understand pathways, returns on investment, dimensions of success, and potential trajectories. This new work will have a profound impact on learners and help inform a deeper understanding of the education and workforce continuum.
Thank you for the trust that you have placed in the Clearinghouse and be assured that we will continue to serve you with the same commitment and principles on which we were founded 25 years ago.
Notable 25th Anniversary Quotes:
Mike Riley, Executive Director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
The 25th anniversary of the National Student Clearinghouse is important to AACRAO because we were there at the start. The challenges that we were facing at the time, the Clearinghouse helped resolve. With the Clearinghouse and their tools to track students, we know far more about a student’s success, the challenges for students that transfer and start at other institutions; impacts and graduation, etc. Without the Clearinghouse tools and their data and resources, this is a bit of a black hole, it was just speculation. Now we have really good insights and can start using those insights to impact practice.
Dan Domenech, Executive Director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association
There’s no other place that a school system can get the actual facts, other than the Clearinghouse. For me, they’re just a tremendous resource. They will tell you a student actually graduated, is in a college, registered and either dropped out or graduated from college. As an educator, it’s important for us to know the facts and to know exactly what is happening in school districts around the country. We get that kind of factual information from the Clearinghouse. You can’t get that information anywhere else.
JoAnn Bartoletti, CEO and Executive Director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals
25 years is significant in terms of being around for the people that they serve. I was a high school principal and I recall that one of the things I was required to do as a high school principal was follow up surveys for my graduating seniors. There is no comparison between what I did myself as a principal, and the service that the Clearinghouse can offer. It certainly is my hope that the Clearinghouse will be around a very long time.
Kim Cook, Executive Director of National College Access Network
The field of college access and success would not be as effective as we are today without Clearinghouse data. When nonprofits or high schools study the actual postsecondary outcomes of their students, they are able to develop targeted strategies for improvement and measure their effect in almost real time. The data are often sobering, but they also motivate us to do better for students, and we have seen many organizations move the needle toward equity for students traditionally underrepresented in higher education.
Ted Mitchell, President of the American Council on Education
As the Clearinghouse and ACE look to the next 25 years, I hope we will work together to improve the quality and use of data on our campuses to assess roadblocks, to assess innovations, and then scale successful policies, practices and culture change to better serve our students.
“Thank you for the trust that you have placed in the Clearinghouse and be assured that we will continue to serve you with the same commitment and principles on which we were founded 25 years ago.”
President & CEO, National Student Clearinghouse