NAICU Washington Update

Good news on IPEDS

June 12, 2007

After months of uncertainty, there is good news from the Department of Education on the IPEDS proposals issued last January. The proposals that the higher education community viewed as the most egregious have been withdrawn from consideration – among them, a new "accountability" section and additional collection items in the financial aid survey.

Widespread concern followed the January 24 Federal Register notice of the proposals. A Week in Review story (February 28 issue), outlined the proposals, and urged NAICU institutions to send comments to the Department on items it considered onerous.

During the 60-day comment period, the Department of Education also issued a second notice suggesting it was backtracking on some of the proposals, but not indicating which items would be withdrawn. A follow-up Week in Review story (March 13 issue) reported this announcement, and asked institutions to remain vigilant. A number of higher education associations, including NAICU, also submitted two letters to the Department – one raising concerns about individual collection items, and the other asking the Department to reevaluate the estimated burden time for completion of IPEDS surveys ().

Finally, on May 30, a notice was posted on the Department of Education Web site (go to "IPEDS Public Comment Response 8 May 07"). This notice reports that at this time the Department will not pursue a number of the proposals, many of which the association and institution comment letters cited as the most troublesome, including:

  • A new accountability section and matrix
  • Enrollment by race/ethnicity and gender for SMART grants
  • Retention rates for Pell, instructional expenses per FTE
  • Data on the number of aid recipients by residence and dependency
  • Reporting on how transfers are verified
  • Elimination of first-professional degrees and changes to doctor’s degree categories
Also, no time line has yet been issued for changes to race/ethnicity categories as mandated by the Office of Management and Budget.

Another encouraging note is that the Department says it will investigate ways to revaluate the burden estimate for institutions to complete IPEDS surveys. Those wishing to comment on the proposed collection activity and burden aspects of the May 30 notice can e-mail by June 29.

Many thanks to those who sent in comments to the Department of Education on this issue. Clearly, your response has made a difference.

For more information, contact Natasha Janson,

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