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Value Data Collaborative (VDC)

The Value Data Collaborative (VDC) empowers states, institutions, and systems to harness the power of data to better understand and improve students’ return on investment in postsecondary education, using the lens of the Postsecondary Value Framework. 

About the Value Data Collaborative

IHEP launched the Value Data Collaborative (VDC) to explore a big question: what’s the return on investment in postsecondary education? The VDC empowers states, institutions, and systems to harness the power of data to better understand and improve students’ value in postsecondary education, by putting the Postsecondary Value Framework into action. This framework, developed by the Postsecondary Value Commission, provides an empirical and nuanced basis for understanding the return on investment in postsecondary education, particularly by race, ethnicity, income, and gender.  

The VDC expands upon this work by supporting state agencies, institutions, and systems across the country in applying the framework to generate robust analyses on the current value provided by institutions and programs and to identify opportunities for future improvement. VDC participants have the opportunity to conduct original research, dive into analytics and data infrastructure, collaborate with peers, and drive meaningful changes in higher education policy and practice.

VDC Cohort 1

The first cohort of the VDC included teams from Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Northern Arizona University. Those teams engaged in an Applied Data Analytics training course, which allowed participants to build technical skills, develop and refine analytic models, learn about the Postsecondary Value Framework, and use student-level data to produce research on postsecondary value in alignment with their strategic plans and priorities. Participants shared their research findings in a virtual convening, presented on national conference panels and a Community of Practice event, and worked to prepare their data for an upcoming feature in the Equitable Value Explorer, an interactive online tool designed to facilitate data-informed decision-making. Through their participation in the VDC, these teams connected with like-minded data and policy experts, deepened collaborations between agencies and offices at their states or institutions, and were empowered to engage deeply with data to inform policies to support the equitable delivery of postsecondary value for more students.  

Meet Our Partners and Advisors

The Coleridge Initiative serves as the VDC’s data infrastructure partner. Coleridge provides a platform to securely link confidential postsecondary and workforce data, called the Administrative Data Research Facility (ADRF). Coleridge also leads and coordinates Applied Data Analytics trainings to help participants use modern data analysis methods to answer real-world questions related to postsecondary value and develop open-source tools that can be used after training ends to improve decision making. 

Westat Insight serves as the analytic lead for the VDC, providing content, research design, and coding expertise to assist participants’ implementation of the postsecondary value framework. Westat Insight also conducts analysis for displaying VDC participants’ data on the Equitable Value Explorer. 

The project teams’ work and the research agenda are supported by the Equitable Value Advisory Board, a group of postsecondary researchers, practitioners, and other experts at the forefront of the Equitable Value Movement. 

Members of the Equitable Value Advisory Board include: 

  • Carrie Billy, President & CEO, American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) 
  • Colin Chellman, University Dean for Institutional and Policy Research, City University of New York (CUNY)
  • José Luis Cruz Rivera, President, Northern Arizona University 
  • Wil Del Pilar, Senior Vice President of Higher Education, The Education Trust 
  • Stella Flores, Associate Professor of Higher Education and Public Policy, The University of Texas at Austin 
  • Indivar Dutta-Gupta, President and Executive Director, CLASP 
  • Sameer Gadkaree, President, The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) 
  • Mildred García, Chancellor, California State University
  • Stephanie Marken, Senior Partner, Education Division, Gallup 
  • Amelia Parnell, Vice President for Research and Policy, NASPA 
  • Nicole Smith, Research Professor and Chief Economist, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce 
  • Edward Smith-Lewis, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Institutional Programs, UNCF 
  • David Troutman, Deputy Commissioner for Academic Affairs and Innovation, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
  • Christina Whitfield, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff, SHEEO
  • Nancy Zimpher, Power of Systems Director, National Association of System Heads (NASH) 

Together, IHEP, the VDC participants, the Coleridge Initiative, Westat Insight, and members of the Equitable Value Advisory Board are working to produce actionable analyses and next steps for student-centered, equity-focused, and data-informed decision making by states, institutions, and systems.