NCES Seeks Comments on Proposed IPEDS Changes

By Jill Desjean, NASFAA Policy & Federal Relations Staff

Late last month, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) proposed changes to its annual Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) data collection for the 2022-23, 2023-24, and 2024-25 years. NCES noted that the majority of changes were suggested by the IPEDS Technical Review Panel (TRP), comprised of NCES staff, representatives from associations, postsecondary institutions and systems, and other federal agencies. 

2022-23 Notable Changes

NCES makes several changes to instructions and FAQs for clarification, including a new FAQ to clarify that race/ethnicity should be reported for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students as "Nonresident," noting that although DACA students are considered undocumented, they are a particular subset of undocumented students with legal status in the U.S. and, as such, should not be reported as "Race and Ethnicity Unknown," as other undocumented students are reported. 

A new question on gender is being added to several sections of the IPEDS data collection to account for students for whose gender does not fit the binary gender categories provided. The question will read, "Of the total students reported, how many students did you allocate to a binary gender category (Men/Women) because their gender was unknown or other than the provided categories?" and will be split by undergraduate and graduate students.

NCES asks in its directed questions whether institutions collect data on gender beyond the binary male/female options, as well as whether institutions could adequately report all gender options using the binary options in addition to new proposed options of "gender unknown" and "gender other."

Institutions will now be asked in the Institutional Characteristics section of IPEDS what types of student employment opportunities their institution offers, with options provided including service learning, apprenticeships, assistantships, cooperative education, and internships.   

The Admissions section includes three new response options to an existing question on additional options for admissions considerations. The new response options are work experience, personal statement or essay, and legacy status.  

2023-24 Notable Changes

NCES is adding to the 12-month enrollment section a new question asking for the institution's count of students enrolled in noncredit education.  NCES acknowledges that noncredit education is growing and that the addition of this question will help to better understand it. In its directed questions, NCES asks for feedback on a proposal to further refine this new question in the 2024-25 IPEDS data collection to require disaggregation of noncredit students by gender and race/ethnicity. The rationale is based in part on the fourth- and fifth-year Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) annual reports, which will no longer include the option for institutions to report students as "not categorized in IPEDS," meaning that beginning in 2024 institutions would have to categorize all of their noncredit students by race/ethnicity and gender in their HEERF annual report. NCES asks whether, given the HEERF requirement, institutions would have this data and whether including this data in the IPEDS data collection would simplify HEERF reporting for institutions. 

Students enrolled under dual enrollment will no longer be counted as non-degree/non-certificate-seeking students, but will instead be reported on their own in a new part of IPEDS, to be disaggregated by race/ethnicity and gender. NCES justifies the new category by noting that grouping dual enrollment students with non-degree/non-certificate students makes it impossible to know the number of dual enrolled students alone. As with noncredit education, NCES notes growth in dual enrollment and its implications for future college attendance and attainment as reasons for its desire to better understand the impact of dual enrollment. 

Comments are due by April 26, 2022.


Publication Date: 3/4/2022

View Desktop Version