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March 2011

From the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

NCES Partners with FSA to Create 'SuperIPEDS' Database

In an unprecedented move, the National Center for Education Statistics and the Department of Education's Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) recently partnered to create a complex, multi-office data system that combines data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) with FSA data on student loans. The effort, in support of the Department of Education's (ED) desire to perform impact analysis for new proposed regulations on "gainful employment," marked the first time that FSA and NCES combined data across their various datasets.

The resulting database, known by ED staff as "SuperIPEDS," includes multiple years of institutional-level data from IPEDS and institutional-level data on student loans aggregated from student-level data provided by FSA. The Postsecondary, Adult, and Career Education (PACE) staff at NCES provided critical technical support and data expertise to create this database. This task was considered especially complex given the different institutional identifiers and definitions used by the different systems.

The Department's Office of the Under Secretary and the Office of Postsecondary Education were also involved with this project. The project marked one of the first times that multiple offices within the Department collaborated to identify how analytic needs both inside and outside the Department can be addressed by bringing together data sources across offices.

ED's "gainful employment" rule, which was first proposed in July 2010, would cut off federal aid to programs that place debt burdens on students above recommended levels. The proposed regulations would also factor in loan repayment rates and program enrollment growth in determining programs eligible for aid under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

New Web Application Makes it Easy to Obtain Public and Private School Data

The Elementary/Secondary Information System (ELSi), a new NCES web application comprised of three separate tools, uses the most recent school year of data available from the Common Core of Data (CCD) and Private School Survey (PSS) to help you:

ELSi uses frequently requested variables and tables—it's a fast, easy way to obtain basic statistical data on U.S. schools. ELSi lets you create customized tables by choosing row variables, column variables, and filters to refine the data.

Try the new tool at