Higher ed groups, researchers ask Education Department to preserve key sample studies

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Dive Brief:

  • Nearly 50 higher education organizations and researchers are asking the U.S. Department of Education to preserve three large-scale studies that track current college students, graduates and how they financed their education. 
  • The Education Department already plans to end the Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study, “the only nationally representative source for insights into what happens to students after they earn a bachelor’s degree,” the coalition wrote in a letter to agency officials last week. 
  • This is misguided, as right now “policymakers want more information about the return on investment of postsecondary education,” they wrote. An Education Department spokesperson said last week that it will review the letter. “The Department places a high value on the insights that collections like these provide for advancing postsecondary opportunities and outcomes,” the spokesperson said. 

Dive Insight:

The letter signatories — which include the Institute for Higher Education Policy, or IHEP, and the American Association of State Colleges — said that the Education Department intends to discontinue the Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study because of resource constraints.

The study, known as B&B, follows students’ education and work experiences after leaving college, with an emphasis on those who become elementary and secondary teachers.

It tracks graduating seniors one, four and 10 years after finishing their bachelor’s degrees.

Eliminating it “would create a significant gap in our understanding of return on investment of a postsecondary degree,” IHEP said in a public statement.

The groups and researchers also want to make sure the Education Department doesn’t touch the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, or NPSAS, which looks at how students pay for college, and the Beginning Postsecondary Students Study, or BPS, which examines students at the beginning of their college career, and then three and six years later. 

NPSAS has been conducted every three to four years since 1987, while the BPS began in 1990.

As the Biden-Harris Administration develops its fiscal year 2025 budget proposal, we urge the agency to request sufficient funding to continue conducting — and strengthening — the postsecondary sample studies,” the letter reads.



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