The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is the nation’s most comprehensive source for information on more than 7,500 colleges and universities. However, IPEDS—as it currently operates—is insufficient to answer the emerging critical questions that facilitate college choice, transparency, policymaking, institutional improvement, and accountability, and in some cases answers questions that are no longer relevant. This report makes five recommendations to guide the process for transforming IPEDS into a more robust system:
- Collect data on key performance indicators that fully reflect 21st century students.
- Streamline IPEDS components to reduce institutional burden and produce more relevant data.
- Create strategic linkages between IPEDS and other systems that already collect valuable data.
- Create a single campus level identifier for every institution of higher education.
- Use IPEDS data to simplify institutional reporting on federal grants.
This paper is part of Envisioning the National Postsecondary Data Infrastructure in the 21st Century.