In an effort to evaluate and improve the Integrated Postsecondary Data System’s (IPEDS) Finance Survey, a technical review panel (TRP) representing institutions, researchers, higher education associations, state governments, the federal government, and other experts met in March 2022. A summary of the meeting’s conclusions (TRP 66) published on September 27 allows a 30-day period for comments, which must be submitted by October 27.
Topics for possible improvement included—
- Whether to discontinue or simplify the collection of balance sheet data
- Optimizing institutional aid information, known as scholarship and fellowship data
- Collecting and relating revenue to programs
- Enhancing details about functional (programmatic) expenses
- Improving the relationship between revenue and related expenses
- Establishing an IPEDS Finance Workgroup
An overarching theme of the meetings concerned the lack of financial reporting alignment between private nonprofit, public, and for-profit institutions because of the differences in accounting and reporting rules. Although different standard setters (the Financial Accounting Standards Board for nonprofit and for-profit institutions, and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board for public institutions) establish the rules, meeting participants evaluated whether there might be a way to collect the most sought-after information. Consequently, the National Center for Educational Statistics is considering assembling a working group to promote the quality, comparability, and use of data collected in the Finance survey. The group would be comprised of experts representing a variety of sectors from the higher education community, including institutions and associations.
NACUBO plans to comment on all topics discussed and provide some suggestions for aligning financial information and expanding certain easily collected data elements while possibly eliminating others. We encourage institutions to read the summary and provide feedback for inclusion in NACUBO’s letter.