Last updated on May 10, 2021

A PDF of these FAQs is available here.

General Questions

Is my institution eligible to participate?
All accredited, undergraduate degree-granting institutions located in the United States are eligible to participate.

How will participating benefit my institution?
Your institution will receive:

  1. A customized, confidential report of findings that includes:

a. Descriptive statistics presenting trends in students’ academic outcomes (including enrollment, grade point average, credits earned and attempted, and degree completion) over time.
b. Comparisons of students’ actual outcomes with predicted outcomes based on historical data.
c. Disaggregated findings by student subgroups (including Pell recipients and students from underrepresented minority groups).
d. Disaggregated findings by programmatic subgroups (including major and school).
e. Comparisons of your institution’s results with those from peer institutions that you select (i.e. benchmarking analyses).

Click here for a sample report.

  1. A customized self-assessment exercise that facilitates an internal review of your findings and guides subsequent decision-making by helping you:

a. Engage the right institutional stakeholders to review data-driven insights.
b. Assess how to use student data for effective decision-making.
c. Interrogate policies and practices that may contribute to unanticipated outcomes highlighted in the report.
d. Develop concrete plans for taking action based on the results.

What are my institution’s responsibilities?
Your institution is responsible for completing the following activities:

  1. Review, complete, and sign the participation agreement.
  2. Designate one or more staff members to collaborate with the Ithaka S+R team:

a. An institutional liaison who will distribute the report of findings and self-assessment exercise to relevant institutional stakeholders upon receipt.
b. A data staff member with adequate administrative data collection experience to serve as the data lead to pull and submit de-identified student administrative data.

  1. Collect and submit de-identified student-level data as delineated in the data collection codebook using Ithaka S+R’s secure FTP data sharing system, and resolve any data issues identified by Ithaka S+R staff.
  2. Identify and submit a list of peer institutions to be benchmarked against.
  3. Participate in the internal self-assessment exercise based on report findings.
  4. Complete the above activities by the service’s deadlines.

How does my institution sign up to participate?
Please email Daniel Rossman at to receive the participation agreement with the terms of the service and your institution’s fee group and corresponding fee.

Who should serve as the institutional liaison?
The institutional liaison should be someone with access to the president or provost-level administration in order to disseminate the findings from the report and facilitate the self-assessment exercise.

Who should serve as the data lead?
The data lead is usually a member of the Institutional Research (or similar) office, but can be anyone who has access to the required student administrative data and has adequate experience collecting such information.

Can one person serve as both the institutional liaison and data lead?
It is possible for one person to serve as the institutional liaison and data lead if the data lead has access to high-level administrators at your institution and is able to disseminate the service’s deliverables.

What are the major service deadlines?

  • May 28, 2021: Complete and sign the participation agreement.
  • June 14, 2021: Receive email with instructions and login information to access your account on the FTP server, and a file that your institution will use to select peer institutions.
  • June 28, 2021: Submit de-identified student administrative data and list of peer institutions to Ithaka S+R via the FTP server.
  • August 2, 2021: Receive final report and accompanying self-assessment exercise.

How is the participation fee calculated?
The fees are tiered, based on your institution’s endowment per full-time equivalent (FTE) student and total number of FTE undergraduate students, as well as the number of academic terms included in the year-long analysis. Institutions’ values for endowment per FTE and total FTE undergraduates were sorted and ranked, with the lowest values receiving the lowest ranks and the highest values receiving the highest ranks. Ranks were then added and institutions were assigned to one of four equal-sized groups, with the lowest total ranks assigned to group 1, the second lowest assigned to group 2, and so on. Public and private not-for-profit two-year institutions were automatically placed in group 1 and for-profit institutions in group 4. Public and private not-for-profit four-year institutions without an endowment were also placed in group 1.

What is the fee for my institution?
Fees by Service Type and Institutional Group

 Fee Groups Based on Institutions’ Endowment per FTE and Total Number of FTE Undergraduates
ServiceGroup 1Group 2Group 3Group 4
1. One school year  (two academic terms)$3,200$3,400$3,800$4,400
2. One school year (three academic terms)$3,900$4,100$4,500$5,100
Note that when counting academic terms, mini-mesters or other shorter academic terms (e.g. J terms) should not be included.

Are you offering group rates?
Institutions participating through a broader group, consortium, or network may be eligible for a reduced group rate. Additional services can be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

Data Questions

What measures are being taken to ensure data security?
Ithaka S+R will ensure that all data transfer, storage, and analysis processes meet the field’s data security and confidentiality standards. Specifically, participating institutions will submit de-identified data through a secure FTP server and Ithaka S+R will store that data behind a protected firewall. Individual student data will remain confidential and will not be shared externally. Ithaka S+R may publish aggregate results in a public-facing report; the names and results of participating institutions will remain confidential unless separate permission is provided.

How do I submit my institution’s data?
All data will be submitted via our secure FTP server. The data lead will receive an email with instructions and login information to access your institution’s account on the FTP server.

What if my institution does not collect data on certain variables requested in the data collection codebook?
If you are missing a variable that is required, please reach out to us and we will work with you to find a solution. If you are missing or are not confident in the accuracy of a variable that is encouraged but not required, please do not include that variable in the file.

How does my institution choose peers?
We will provide you with a list of the other institutions participating in the service, accompanied by publicly-available information gathered from IPEDS to help you select peers. Choose at least 3 peer institutions, and up to 7 peers, for benchmarking analyses, and return the completed file to Ithaka S+R.

Which students should be included in the dataset?
For additional details on the student sample, data format and structure, and the requested data variables and their definitions, please refer to the data collection codebook.