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July 11 -- The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Department of Education (ED), invites comments to OMB by August 10, 2023 regarding the 2023-24 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:24) Full-Scale Study-Institution Contacting and List Collection.

This request is to conduct the 2023–24 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study Institution Contacting and List Collection (NPSAS:24). This study is being conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), within the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), part of the U.S. Department of Education. This submission covers materials and procedures related to institution sampling, enrollment list collection, and matching to administrative data files as part of the NPSAS:24 data collection. The materials and procedures are based on those developed for previous institution-based data collections, including the 2019–20 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:20) [OMB #1850–0666 v.23], and the 2017–18 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study Administrative Collection (NPSAS:18–AC) [1850–0666 v.21]. The first NPSAS was implemented by NCES during the 1986–87 academic year to meet the need for national data about significant financial aid issues.

Since 1987, NPSAS has been fielded every 2 to 4 years, most recently during the 2019–20 academic year (NPSAS:20). NPSAS:24 will be nationally-representative. The NPSAS:24 sample size will include about 2,000 institutions from which will be sampled 137,000 nationally representative undergraduate and 25,000 nationally representative graduate students who will be asked to complete a survey and for whom we will collect student records and administrative data. Also, NPSAS:24 is scheduled to serve as the base year for the 2024 cohort of the Baccalaureate and Beyond (B&B) Longitudinal Study, but no funding is available to field follow-up surveys. In the event Congress appropriates additional funds, the NPSAS:24 sampling design will include a nationally representative sample of students who will complete requirements for the bachelor's degree during the NPSAS year (i.e., completed at some point between July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024). Subsets of questions in the student survey will focus on describing aspects of the experience of students in their last year of postsecondary education, including student debt, education experiences, and preparation activities for those planning to teach at the preK through 12th grade level.

This submission is designed to adequately justify the need for and overall practical utility of the full study, presenting the overarching plan for all of the phases of the institution sampling and enrollment list data collection and providing as much detail about the measures to be used as is available at the time of this submission. Field test materials, procedures, and results have informed this request for clearance for the full-scale study. For this full-scale study, NCES is publishing this notice in the Federal Register allowing an additional 30-day public comment period on the final details of the NPSAS:24 full-scale study. NCES will submit a separate clearance package covering the student data collection, including the student record data abstraction and student surveys, for an additional 30-day public comment period in the fall of 2023.

The fundamental purpose of NPSAS is to create a research data set that brings together information about a variety of programs for a large sample of undergraduate and graduate students. NPSAS provides the data for comprehensive descriptions of the undergraduate and graduate student populations in terms of their demographic characteristics, academic programs, types of institutions attended, attendance patterns, and employment. Demographic and enrollment data establish the appropriate context that allows researchers and policy analysts to address basic issues about postsecondary affordability and the recipients of student financial assistance. These results are presented in at least one First Look report.

Ultimately, data collected via NPSAS:24 will make important contributions to studies of postsecondary education policy at the federal, state, and sector levels. The data can be used to calculate statistics through DataLab,  a web-based software application available to the public at https://nces.ed.gov/datalab, and to qualified researchers through the IES restricted-use data licensing program (https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/licenses.asp).
 
A second purpose of NPSAS is to gather base-year data on a subset of students who will complete requirements for a bachelor’s degree during the NPSAS year. Although the first follow-up, B&B:24/25 has not been exercised by NCES, NPSAS:24 will sample 4th and 5th year students to establish the base year cohort for the B&B, to allow for potential follow-up surveys in the future if funding becomes available. A section of the student survey will capture information about students’ graduate school and career plans to support analysis of graduate education and employment outcomes, with a special emphasis on students considering and pursuing careers in elementary and secondary teaching. In addition, the base year survey will include some items typically included in the first B&B follow-up.

Many of the important questions that NPSAS:24 aims to address are the same as in the past years. College cost increases, net price levels, grants, and increases in student loan debt will continue to be central issues. The NPSAS:24 data will be used to address policy issues related to changes in federal financial aid programs resulting from the anticipated reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Following are some of the primary research and policy issues that could be addressed using NPSAS:24 data: . . .
 
The primary contractor for this study is RTI International (Contract# 91990022C0017). Subcontractors for NPSAS:24 include Activate Research, Inc.; ARSIEM Corporation; EurekaFacts, LLC; ForumOne Communications Corp.; HR Directions, LLC; KEN Consulting, Inc.; Leonard Resource Group; Research Support Services, Inc.; Strategic Communications, Inc.; The Equity Paradigm; and Whitworth Kee Consulting, LLC. Dr. Eric Atchison, Dr. Sandy Baum, Dr. Vincent Castano, Dr. Anthony Jones, Richard Reeves, Dr. Matt Springer, and Dr. Shelly Steward are consultants for the study.
 
National Postsecondary Student Aid Study - Overview https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/npsas/
NCES submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202307-1850-002 Click IC List for information collection instrument, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this webpage.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-14516

For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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