Every four years, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) collects student financial aid data, sampling both undergraduate and graduate student populations through its National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS). These quadrennial NPSAS data sets have informed the research and policy work of AccessLex Institute related to access, affordability and value issues in graduate and professional education, and are an invaluable resource to the higher education community.
ED recently announced that it will begin compiling student financial aid data on a more frequent basis through a new NPSAS Administrative Collection (NPSAS:18-AC). These administrative data will be released every four years--spaced two years between the original NPSAS collections--enabling policymakers, researchers and other stakeholders to review and research timelier snapshots of the published and net price of postsecondary education programs and the ways in which students finance their costs of attendance.
Although the increased frequency of NPSAS collections will aid researchers, policymakers and schools in making well-informed decisions, its policy and analytical objectives are predominately focused on undergraduate students. AccessLex Institute’s comments stress the need to provide adequate samples of graduate and professional degree students to sufficiently address research questions related to the population as a whole and by student characteristics such as sex, race/ethnicity, degree program and institution type, both in isolation and in combination.
You can read AccessLex Institute’s full response here.