IES funding to piggyback on NPSAS:16 data collection

Requirements for Applications Using the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study

Applicants must meet the requirements listed under the Postsecondary and Adult Education topic as set out in Part II.A.8 of the Education Research Grants Request for applications (available at Under this topic, applicants may design studies to explore the relationship of malleable factors and student persistence, progress through, and completion of postsecondary education using data collected by NCES for a subset of the NPSAS sample plus additional data collection instruments of their own choice given to that same subsample through mail, telephone, or internet delivery. For example, applicants could propose to gather information to examine the relationship between enrollment in different types of remediation courses and student persistence and graduation to generate hypotheses on whether such courses increase postsecondary completion. These types of applications must meet all the requirements for Exploration projects as set out in Part III.A.1 of the Education Research Grants Request for Applications (see funding opportunities at Applicants may also propose evaluating a fully developed intervention aimed at increasing student persistence and completion of postsecondary education. These interventions can be developed by the applicant or by others and be administered by mail, telephone or internet. For example, some students might be randomly assigned to receive additional information on financial assistance in order to determine its impact first on student aid uptake and later on postsecondary completion. These applications must meet all the requirements for Efficacy and Replication projects as set out in Part III.A.3 of the Education Research Grants Request for Applications.

The 2015-16 NPSAS will contain a nationally-representative sample of about 95,000 undergraduate students and about 20,000 graduate students. NPSAS provides data on tuition and price of attendance; the various types of financial aid received; and the net price of attendance after aid. It also includes data for comprehensive descriptions of these student populations in terms of their demographic characteristics, academic programs, the types of institutions attended, attendance patterns, and employment.

For more information about NPSAS, interested applicants should visit the NPSAS website at For more detailed information about NPSAS methodological issues, interested applicants are encouraged to read to the Technical/Methodological reports section of the website at

The pilot opportunity described here gives researchers access to the majority of the NPSAS:16 sample after the study’s student interview has been completed. From the NPSAS:16 undergraduate sample, approximately one quarter of the cases will be flagged as potential baccalaureate recipients and will be reserved by NCES as the base cohort of the Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B) and for subsequent reinterviewing in 2017 and 2020. Access to a subsample of remaining respondents (i.e., those not considered graduating college seniors) will be provided to successful grantees to conduct research on issues relating to college access, persistence and completion.

The Institute will support as many research proposals as are feasible, given resource and study constraints and subject to the quality of applications received. Because the study’s sample is limited, the Institute reserves the right to restrict the sample available to any single applicant/grantee and to require the grantee to modify study methods appropriately.

Proposals are limited to:

  1. exploration studies of the relationships between student persistence, progress through, and completion of postsecondary education and malleable factors (and the mediators and moderators of these relationships), and
  2. evaluations of the efficacy of interventions aimed at improving persistence and completion of postsecondary education. Because NPSAS collects information on financial aid, applicants may wish to examine the uptake and impact of financial aid as proximal outcomes.
By Stephen

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Professor and quant guy. Libertarian turned populist Republican. Trying to learn Japanese and play Spanish Baroque music on the ukulele.

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