Accurate, timely data on student outcomes and post-graduate earnings is a critical piece of any state effort to close equity gaps in college access and success, boost attainment statewide, and strategically align education and workforce goals. Unfortunately, in the absence of a federal student-level data network, states and other key stakeholders do not have all the outcomes information they need to inform state and institutional efforts and best serve students.
In A Roadmap to Better Data: Developing a Census Bureau Partnership to Measure National Postsecondary Earnings Outcomes, Stephanie Bond Huie and David Troutman of the University of Texas (UT) System describe a creative solution - a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the UT System and the U.S. Census Bureau to provide better data on student outcomes. Begun in 2017, the partnership provides accurate, timely, and secure data on student earnings outcomes by institution, degree level, and field of study within the UT system. With information to assess the success of all graduates, the UT System is better equipped to create evidence-based policies and practices and promote the success of all students.
This roadmap provides state data leaders with guidance at every critical step of replicating the partnership, including building buy-in and approval from leadership, developing necessary legal agreements, and ensuring the quality and security of data.
This report is part of IHEP’s work leading the Postsecondary Data Collaborative (PostsecData)’s State Working Group and can used in conjunction with IHEP’s November 2019 guidebook, Better Data, Better Outcomes: Promoting Evidence, Equity, and Student Success Through the Framework for Postsecondary Data Solutions, to help states overcome common data challenges.