Leveraging data reported regularly by colleges and universities into useful information is critical to ensuring that more students have access to and succeed in higher education. However, the needs of the higher education community—from state and federal policymakers, to faculty and staff at institutions, to students themselves—are evolving and growing in complexity. The current national postsecondary data
infrastructure, with its component systems built for different purposes and owned and operated by different entities using different data definitions, is increasingly inadequate to meet those needs. This paper frames the work of national experts and makes the case for engaging in this conversation now. Improvements to which data we collect from colleges and universities, how they are collected, where they are aggregated and stored, how they can be linked to other existing data, and how they are disseminated to the public are all within reach.
This paper is part of Envisioning the National Postsecondary Data Infrastructure in the 21st Century.