The Missing Manual: Using National Student Clearinghouse Data to Track Postsecondary Outcomes

54 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2013

See all articles by Susan M. Dynarski

Susan M. Dynarski

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - School of Education

Steven W. Hemelt

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

Joshua Hyman

University of Connecticut - Department of Public Policy; University of Connecticut - Neag School of Education; University of Connecticut - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 2013

Abstract

This paper explores the promises and pitfalls of using National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) data to measure a variety of postsecondary outcomes. We first describe the history of the NSC, the basic structure of its data, and recent research interest in using NSC data. Second, using information from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we calculate enrollment coverage rates for NSC data over time, by state, institution type, and demographic student subgroups. We find that coverage is highest among public institutions and lowest (but growing) among for-profit colleges. Across students, enrollment coverage is lower for minorities but similar for males and females. We also explore two potentially less salient sources of non-coverage: suppressed student records due to privacy laws and matching errors due to typographic inaccuracies in student names. To illustrate how this collection of measurement errors may affect estimates of the levels and gaps in postsecondary attendance and persistence, we perform several case-study analyses using administrative transcript data from Michigan public colleges. We close with a discussion of practical issues for program evaluators using NSC data.

Suggested Citation

Dynarski, Susan M. and Hemelt, Steven W. and Hyman, Joshua, The Missing Manual: Using National Student Clearinghouse Data to Track Postsecondary Outcomes (October 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w19552, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2342049

Susan M. Dynarski (Contact Author)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy ( email )

735 South State Street, Weill Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - School of Education ( email )

610 East University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1259
United States

Steven W. Hemelt

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27514
United States

Joshua Hyman

University of Connecticut - Department of Public Policy ( email )

1800 Asylum Ave.
Library Building, 4th Floor
West Hartford, CT 06117
United States

University of Connecticut - Neag School of Education ( email )

CT
United States

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics ( email )

365 Fairfield Way, U-1063
Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
45
Abstract Views
353
PlumX Metrics