The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System  2k19_20 IPEDS Help Desk
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NCES National Center for Education Statistics  
Statutory Requirements for Reporting IPEDS Data
General Mandate

NCES is authorized by law under the Section 153 of the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-279). Accordingly, NCES "shall collect, report, analyze, and disseminate statistical data related to education in the United States and in other nations, including -

  • collecting, acquiring, compiling (where appropriate, on a state by state basis), and disseminating full and complete statistics on the condition and progress of education, at the pre-school, elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels in the United States, ...;
  • conducting and publishing reports and analyses of the meaning and significance of such statistics;
  • collecting, analyzing, cross-tabulating, and reporting, to the extent feasible, so as to provide information by gender, race, ...; and
  • assisting public and private educational agencies, organizations, and institutions in improving and automating statistical and data collection activities..."
Mandatory Reporting for Institutions with Program Participation Agreements

The completion of all IPEDS surveys, in a timely and accurate manner, is mandatory for all institutions that participate in or are applicants for participation in any Federal financial assistance program authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, as amended. The completion of the surveys is mandated by 20 USC 1094, Section 487(a)(17) and 34 CFR 668.14(b)(19).

The Department of Education (ED) relies on postsecondary institutions to accurately report data to IPEDS, and nearly all institutions do.  Institutions themselves sometimes identify misreporting issues and work with ED to correct those problems without the need for further action by the Department.  The Department is concerned about any instances of intentional or significant misreporting.  Under these circumstances, the Office of Federal Student Aid may take administrative action to appropriately address the issue.

Title IV, HEA program regulations 34 CFR 668.84, 668.85, and 668.86 provide that the Department may initiate a fine action or other administrative action, such as a limitation, suspension, or termination of eligibility to participate in the Title IV, HEA programs, against institutions that do not comply with the requirement to complete and submit their IPEDS surveys. The regulations permit a fine for each violation of any provision of Title IV, or any regulation or agreement implementing that Title. These fines are increase on an annual basis based on an inflation index. More information can be found in the Federal Register, 'Adjustment of Civil Monetary Penalties for Inflation (under 20 U.S.C. 1094(c)(3)(B)'.   In determining the amount of a fine, the Secretary considers both the gravity of the offense and the size of the institution (34 CFR 668.92(a)).

Each year, the Office of Federal Student Aid issues fine notices to institutions for not completing their IPEDS surveys in a complete and accurate manner within the required timeframes.  Other institutions are sent warning letters.  According to the Office of Federal Student Aid, an institution's failure to accurately complete and submit these surveys is a serious violation of its obligations under the Higher Education Act, and appropriate action will be taken.

Vocational Education Data

The Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA) of 2002 (P.L. 107-279) directs NCES to collect, report, analyze, and disseminate  statistical data related to the condition and progress of postsecondary education, including access to and opportunity for postsecondary education (including data on financial aid to postsecondary students), the financing and management of education (including data on revenues), student participation in and completion of postsecondary vocational and technical education programs by specific program area, and the existence and use of school libraries.

Data on Race/Ethnicity and Gender of Students

The collection and reporting of race/ethnicity and gender data on students and completers are mandatory for all institutions which receive, are applicants for, or expect to be applicants for Federal financial assistance as defined in the Department of Education (ED) regulations implementing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (34 CFR 100), or defined in any ED regulation implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (34 CFR 106). The collection of race/ethnicity and gender data in vocational programs is mandated by Section 421(a)(1) of the Carl D. Perkins Vocational Education Act.

Data on Race/Ethnicity and Gender of Staff

The collection and reporting of race/ethnicity and gender data on the Human Resources (HR) component are mandatory for all institutions which receive, are applicants for, or expect to be applicants for Federal financial assistance as defined in the Department of Education (ED) regulations implementing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (34 CFR 100). The collection of these data are also mandated by P.L. 88-352, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 (29 CFR 1602, subparts O, P, and Q). Institutions with 15 or more full-time employees are required to respond to the IPEDS Human Resources component under this mandate.

Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act of 1990 (SRK)

Sections 668.41, 668.45, and 668.48 of the Student Assistance General Provision (34 CFR 668) were amended to implement the SRK, as amended by the Higher Education Amendments of 1991 and further by the Higher Education Technical Amendments of 1993 and 1999. The final regulations require an institution that participates in any student financial assistance program under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, to disclose information about graduation or completion rates to current and prospective students. The final regulations also require such institutions that also award athletically related student aid to provide certain types of data regarding the institution's student population, and the graduation or completion rates of categories of student-athletes, to potential athletes, their parents, coaches, and counselors.

Consumer Information

Section 101 of the Higher Education amendments of 1965 (P.L. 105-244) requires that NCES collect the following information about undergraduate students from institutions of higher education: tuition and fees, cost of attendance, the average amount of financial assistance received by type of aid, and the number of students receiving each type.

Section 132 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (P.L. 110-315), as amended, requires that NCES make the following consumer information about postsecondary institutions available on the College Navigator college search web site:   the institution’s mission statement; a link to the institution’s website that provides, in an easily accessible manner, information on student activities, services for individuals with disabilities, career and placement services, and policies on transfer of credit; admissions rates and test scores; enrollment by race and ethnicity, gender, enrollment status, and residency; number of transfer students; students registered with the disability office; retention rates; graduation rates within normal time of program completion and 150% and 200% of normal time; number of certificates and degrees awarded, and programs with the highest number of awards; student-to-faculty ratio and number of faculty and graduate assistants; cost of attendance and availability of alternative tuition plans; average grant aid and loans, and number of students receiving such aid, by type; total grant aid to undergraduates; number of students receiving Pell Grants; three years of tuition and fees and average net price data; three years of average net price disaggregated by income; a multi-year tuition calculator; College Affordability Lists and reports; Title IV cohort default rate; and campus safety information.  State spending charts and a link to Bureau of Labor Statistics information on starting salaries are also required. 

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