Custom Comparion Group

Custom Comparison Groups for the
2013 IPEDS Data Feedback Report and
2013 Executive Peer Tool




The 2013 IPEDS Data Feedback Report (DFR) will be mailed to chief administrators of postsecondary institutions in October 2013.  This report provides comparison statistics for the institution and a group of similar institutions, referred to as a comparison group.  There are two methods by which a comparison group can be established:

·         An institution may choose its own custom comparison group.  Instructions for doing this are below.

·         An institution may use the automatically generated comparison group determined by NCES.  This group is based on an algorithm that includes institution level and control, Carnegie classification, and enrollment, among other variables.  If this is the option you want, you do not need to do anything.


This comparison group is also used for the 2013 Executive Peer Tool (ExPT). 


Your custom comparison group must be established by July 16, 2013; after that date, no changes may be made until next year.


NOTE:  Any new group you establish this spring will NOT be used with the 2012 IPEDS Data Feedback Report or in the 2012 Executive Peer Tool that is currently available. 


Creating a custom comparison group

There are two ways to create a custom comparison group: 

·         Use the Data Center to create the group, save it, and upload it to the Data Collection System, or

·         Use the Data Collection System to create the group from scratch or to modify last year's group.


ONLY the IPEDS keyholder has access to the data collection function that allows groups to be uploaded, created, or modified.  Your custom comparison group can contain whichever institutions you want, as long as it contains no more than 100 institutions.


If you uploaded a group last year, that same group will be retained for the 2013 DFR. If you would like to verify the comparison group (note that changes in the IPEDS universe due to institution closures and mergers may have modified your group) OR make changes to it, please log into the Data Collection System and confirm/modify it as desired. 


Creating a custom comparison group using the Data Center:

·         Go to  

·         Click on ExPT and DFR.

·         Enter your institution's UnitID or name (this will be displayed later as the comparison institution). When your institution appears below the box, click on its name. 

·         Click on either Create a Custom Data Feedback Report or Create a Statistical Analysis Report.

·         Add institutions to your group by name, by criteria, or start with your saved or the automatically generated group and make changes to it. Click on the Help icon in the upper right-hand corner for instructions on creating a comparison group (look in Part 5: Chapter 12 ExPT and DFR).

·         Once you are satisfied with your list of institutions, click on Main Menu (the white button near the upper-right). 

·        Click on Create/Download an institution group.

·         Review the list of institutions. 

·         Save the group to your computer by clicking the Export button near the top of the institution list.  Change the default filename to CGxxxxxx.uid where "xxxxxx" is your UnitID.

·         You MUST upload your comparison group to the Data Collection System in order for it to be used in your 2013 DFR. 

o   Log into the Data Collection System (

o   From the Tools menu, select Comparison Group Edit/Upload.

o   Click Browse, find your xxxxxx.uid file where you saved it on your computer, and click Upload.   If the upload is NOT successful, an error message will be generated, explaining the error.  A successful upload will return a success message, and you will see a list of custom comparison group institution names.


Creating a custom comparison group using the IPEDS Data Collection System:

·         Log into the Data Collection System (

·         From the Tools menu, select Comparison Group Edit/Upload.

·         Click Create or View/Edit.

·         Click Add new.  The first time you do this, you must enter a UnitID in all 3 boxes, because your group must contain a minimum of 3 institutions.  You can use College Navigator to find UnitIDs.  Click Save.

·         Continue until your group contains all the institutions desired.


Modifying a custom comparison group using the IPEDS Data Collection System:

·         If you uploaded a group last year and want to make changes to the group, or want to delete the entire group, use the following procedure:

o   Log into the Data Collection System (

o   From the Tools menu, select Comparison Group Edit/Upload.

o   Click Create or View/Edit.

o   Use the icons to edit or delete individual institutions on your list, click Add new to add additional institutions to your group, or click Delete all to get rid of the entire group.


If you need help with creating a custom comparison group, please contact the IPEDS HelpDesk at 1-877-225-2568 or If emailing, include your institution's name or UnitID, your name and phone #, and a brief description of the problem. Assistance is available through July 16.