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Data Resource Details

One of the challenges of benchmarking can be finding the right data. Below are details about some data sources that may help you get started in your benchmarking efforts.

General Data

Integrated Postsecondary Data Analysis System (IPEDS) Peer Analysis System
The IPEDS is the core postsecondary education data collection program of the Department of Education's National Center of Education Statistics (NCES). The IPEDS system is built around a series of interrelated surveys to collect institution-level data in areas such as enrollments, program completions, faculty, staff, and finances from all primary providers of postsecondary education. All institutions participating in Title IV financial aid must complete IPED surveys. The Peer Analysis System (PAS) enables users to compare a Linchpin institution of the user's choosing to a group of peer institutions, by generating reports using selected IPEDS variables of interest. The Executive Peer Tool is a simplified version of the PAS containing a series of predetermined indicators.

Association of Governing Board's (AGB) Benchmarking Service
AGB's online service provides access to several years of IPEDS data and data from other sources. Institutions can select peers from existing groups of institutions or create their own peer group, and data can be presented in customized reports. This service is available to AGB members for an annual fee of $750. It is possible to preview the service on the association's website.

National Science Foundation WebCASPAR
The WebCASPAR database provides access to data focusing on science and engineering but also provides information on other fields in higher education. From the database's website users can create data tables from the following sources: selected IPEDS Survey Data and NSF Survey Data (Survey of Earned Doctorates; Survey of Federal Funds for Research and Development; Survey of Federal S&E Support to Universities, Colleges and Nonprofit Institutions; Survey of R&D Expenditures at Universities and Colleges; and NSF-NIH Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in S&E).

Endowment and Finance Data

NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments (NCSE)

The NCSE is the largest source of data on college and university endowment performance and management in North America. The data are based on an annual survey of college and university endowments and affiliated foundations in the United States and Canada. Aggregate data is available to the through four tables that are made available to the public each year, or through purchasing the study's results through the NACUBO online bookstore. Participating institutions receive complimentary access to the full report at no charge and receive access to institutionally specific confidential data.

Council for Aid to Education Voluntary Support of Education Data Miner
The Council for Aid to Education's annual Voluntary Support of Education survey collects data about charitable support, including the source of gifts, the purposes for which they are earmarked, and the size of the largest gifts. Participating institutions can purchase the report of the full results for a 35% discount. The data mining tool for benchmarking giving trends against peer institutions is available for a fee, based on institution type ranging from approximately $350 to $1,100. The report of the full results is available to the public for $100 and can be ordered on the council's website.

Integrated Postsecondary Data Analysis System (IPEDS) Finance Survey
The IPEDS is the core postsecondary education data collection program of the Department of Education's National Center of Education Statistics (NCES). All institutions participating in Title IV financial aid must complete IPEDS surveys. The IPEDS Finance Survey collects data annually on net assets, revenues, expenses, scholarships and fellowships, and other data typically found on the General Purpose Financial Statement. The IPEDS Peer Analysis System (PAS) enables users to compare an institution's data to a group of peer institutions, by generating reports using selected IPEDS variables of interest. The Executive Peer Tool is a simplified version of the PAS containing a series of predetermined indicators.

Delaware Study of Costs and Productivity
Participation in the cost study allows institutions access to analyses of data on teaching loads by faculty category, direct costs of instruction by academic area, and externally funded research and service productivity. Institutions can access comparative data with national benchmarks by either Carnegie classification or a peer group chosen by the institution. Over 300 institutions participate in the study.

Moody's Municipal Financial Ratio Analysis (MFRA)
Moody's Median's is a subscription service that provides access to Moody's comprehensive database of financial and operating credit statistics in the Higher Education sector and the tools to create custom queries. MFRA includes Pre-set Medians -- key financial and operating statistics on a pre-determined grouping of entities.

Facilities Data

Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers' (APPA) Facilities Core Data Survey
The Facilities Core Data Survey contains 12 modules that collect data on strategic financial measures, costs per square foot for several facilities functions, building age and space use, and personnel costs and staffing levels. Participating institutions receive a customized report showing comparisons of their data to other participants. A CD-ROM is produced for benchmarking entitled, Facilities Performance Indicators, and is free to study participants and available for purchase to non-participants at a fee of $150 for APPA members and $230 for non-members.

Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) Campus Facility Inventory
SCUP's Campus Facility Inventory (CFI) was started in 2003 collecting data about the physical size and growth patterns of colleges and universities. All participants receive a complete data set for peer comparison purposes. Data sets are not sold to non-participants.

Salary and Benefits Data

American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Salary Survey
AAUP conducts an annual salary survey which includes data on tenure track and benefits of administrative compensation for selected senior executive positions. Institutional representatives may order custom peer comparison reports that depending on the timing relative to report release, type of request, and the number of peers requested in the report have fees ranging from $25 to $350. A complete data set, for conducting one's own analyses can also be purchased -- fees are $350 for participating institutions and $400 for non-participants. Copies of the full print report are distributed to all members at no cost; non-members can order the full print report for $68. A summary with selected tables is available online at no charge.

College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) DataOnDemand
CUPA-HR conducts several annual salary and benefits surveys: Administrative Compensation Survey; Mid-Level Administrative and Professional Salary Survey; National Faculty Salary Survey for Four-Year Institutions; the Community College Faculty Salary Survey; Employee Health Care and Other Benefits; and Retiree Health Care Benefits . For benchmarking, the DataOnDemand application allows users access to results from the particular survey for the current year and the previous two years. The DataOnDemand application can be used for creating peer comparisons, however note that individual institution salary data is not available, a comparison group must include a minimum of eight institutions. DataOnDemand is available for a subscription fee depending on CUPA-HR member status and survey participation status the fees range from $500 to $1,000. Executive summaries of the results of these surveys are available on the association's website at no charge. Full reports for each survey are produced and are available for a fee depending on CUPA-HR member status and survey participation status the fees range from $140 to $300.

Integrated Postsecondary Data Analysis System (IPEDS) Human Resources Survey
The IPEDS is the core postsecondary education data collection program of the Department of Education's National Center of Education Statistics (NCES). All institutions participating in Title IV financial aid must complete IPEDS surveys. The IPEDS Human Resources Survey collects data annually on staff and faculty salaries, benefits, classification and tenure status. The IPEDS Peer Analysis System (PAS) enables users to compare an institution's data to a group of peer institutions, by generating reports using selected IPEDS variables of interest. The Executive Peer Tool is a simplified version of the PAS containing a series of predetermined indicators.

Benchmarking Survey of Human Resource Practices in Higher Education
Conducted by BearingPoint Inc. in conjunction with CUPA-HR, institutional participants receive both a custom report and unlimited access to the Data Analysis system. Participation fees are based on the institution's FTE student enrollment ranging from $300 to $700. The Benchmarking survey is intended to replicate the Balanced Scorecard approach by presenting metrics underlying strategic planning, staffing and compensation, benefits, training and development, performance assessment, leadership, and culture.

Tuition Discounting Data

NACUBO Tuition Discounting Survey
NACUBO annually collects data from independent, non-profit colleges and universities on the level of institutional student aid, percent of students receiving institutional grants, net revenues and other related information. Participants are given complimentary access to the results through the "My NACUBO" portal on the NACUBO website. Non-participants can purchase the results ($29.95 for NACUBO members and $39.95 for non-members) through NACUBO's online bookstore. In addition to these resources, the NACUBO Online Benchmarking Tool allows participants of the Tuition Discounting Study to compare their institution’s tuition discounting data against a self-selected peer group. The tool can also be accessed by logging into "My NACUBO".