States Getting Private Postsecondary Institution Data

Jenna Leventoff
July 12, 2016

In order for state data systems to provide optimal insight into how combinations of courses and programs help residents access credentials, employment, and higher earnings, these systems should be inclusive of data from across the education and workforce spectrum. However, a missing piece of the puzzle in many states is data from private postsecondary institutions, who don’t necessarily have to report data to the state. According to unpublished results from our 2015 State Blueprint Survey, just 17 states report having data from private non-profit institutions, and just 12 states report having data from private for-profit institutions. Below are two ways that such states have managed to solicit data from private institutions.

New Jersey passed legislation requiring private institutions offering workforce training programs to submit data to the state, in order to stay on the state’s eligible training provider list and remain eligible for certain state and federal workforce funding. New Jersey uses that data to create an eligible training provider list scorecard showing employment rates and average earnings at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years after graduation.  

Tennessee, on the other hand, has asked private postsecondary institutions to voluntarily submit data to the Tennessee Longitudinal Data System (TLDS). This occurs via a partnership between TLDS and the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA). In order to facilitate data transmissions to TLDS, TICUA has memorandums of understanding with each of the schools within its membership who want to share data. To date, this includes 14 of the organizations’ 34 members, with more anticipated to participate in the future. After collecting data from its membership, TICUA transfers the data to TLDS, pursuant to another memorandum of understanding.

WDQC applauds New Jersey and Tennessee for their innovative approaches to collecting data from private postsecondary institutions. We hope that other states are soon able to do the same, so that all states can paint more complete pictures of their education and workforce systems.