Skip to main content


The Integrated Postsecondary Data System known as IPEDS is “a system of 12 interrelated survey components conducted annually that gathers data from every college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs. The data collections occur in fall, winter, and spring.” (Source) It is the primary data collection process that supports the National Center for Education Statistic (NCES), which is important as its purpose informs the types and limitations on the data collected. “NCES has a Congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze, and report complete statistics on the condition of American education; conduct and publish reports; and review and report on education activities internationally.” (Source). This statistical research purpose requires standardization in data collection that does not always inform the operations of a college as well as one might desire. But like the limitations due to the Carnegie Classification system, IPEDS does allow for consistency in data definitions and time periods so colleges can use the data for peer comparison.

The institutional effectiveness measures SFCC has selected from the IPEDS data includes completion and transfer out rates. Due to the data reporting requirements for SFCC’s Carnegie classification, retention rates in IPEDS data are based solely on the students enrolled in BAS programs and, therefore, does not assist the college in identifying meaningful equity gaps, unlike completion and transfer out data.

In the visualization below, three peer group options are available:

Centralia College (Centralia), Clark College (Vancouver), Lower Columbia (Longview), and Pierce College District (Lakewood). Even though more detailed data is available for peer comparisons through the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges, the IPEDS metrics are also included for the Washington peer group.