Appendix B. Invisible Colleges: The Absence of Broad-Access Institutions in National Postsecondary Datasets | Chapter individual record

Appendix B INVISIBLE COLLEGES: THE ABSENCE OF BROAD- ACCESS INSTITUTIONS IN NATIONAL POSTSECONDARY DATASETS brian holzman Our research draws on data from the Higher Education General Information Survey (HEGIS) and the Integrated Postsecondary Education System (IPEDS). Both HEGIS and IPEDS are national surveys of higher education institutions fielded by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the US Department of Education . For most research in higher education, HEGIS and IPEDS are extremely useful databases since they capture critical information for nearly all of the accredited , degree- granting, Title IV institutions in the county. However, when it comes to studying broad- access colleges such as nonaccredited, for- profit institutions that offer short- term training programs, HEGIS and IPEDS have impor tant limitations. Higher Education General Information Survey (HEGIS) HEGIS, which predated IPEDS, was established after the 1965 Higher Education Act and was conducted from 1965 to 1987. HEGIS requested institutions participating in the Title IV federal student financial aid program to complete an annual survey (Jaquette and Parra 2014). The survey collected annual data on institutional characteristics (e.g., level, control), fall enrollment, earned degrees, employment , and finance. Other institutional information was also gathered but less systematically (e.g., libraries, in- state student residency). The HEGIS sample included institutions of higher education, which were defined by NCES as being accredited at the college level by an agency or association recognized by the Secretary, U.S. Department of Education. These schools offered at least a one- year program of study creditable toward a degree and they were eligible for participation in Title IV Federal financial aid programs (National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, US Department of Education 2014b). Limitations of HEGIS Although HEGIS strived to be a central cata log of US postsecondary institutions , broad- access colleges were often overlooked. For instance, descriptive analy sis of institutions in California show that in 2010, for- profit colleges granted about 59 percent of the states short- term certificates awards lasting less than one academic year ( Jez 2012). HEGIS disproportionately excludes for- profit colleges and universities because students typically pursue programs in these institutions (e.g., Invisible Colleges 241 occupational or technical certificate programs) that do not lead to a two-or four- year degree. Further, many broad- access colleges, particularly private proprietary institutions, are nonaccredited and may not offer federal student financial aid. Our inventory and map of San Francisco Bay Area colleges and universities on the Gardner Center website ( show that many broad- access colleges are excluded in these large national datasets. There is also the prob lem of missing data. With the exception of three years of data available on the IPEDS website (198081, 198485, and 198586), HEGIS is no longer maintained by NCES. Although the Inter- University Consortium for Po liti cal and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan holds a large cata log of HEGIS files, several years and survey components are missing. With the help of an NCES staff member, we were able to obtain additional data discs for our research. Although these sources allowed us to assem ble institutional data for most years between 1970 and 1986, there are still several gaps. For example, data are unavailable for the following school years: 197172, 197576, 197677, 197980, and 198182. A number of components are also unavailable, including information about earned degrees in 1970. Based on our communication with NCES, we learned that data were frequently lost because of repeated format conversions from magnetic tapes to files on diskette to rec ords on the internet. Therefore, we were constrained in our ability to construct a full 40- year panel dataset with complete information. The Integrated Postsecondary Education System (IPEDS) IPEDS replaced HEGIS and was phased in between 1985 and 1989 (Fuller 2011). Currently, IPEDS fields nine survey components: institutional characteristics, completions, 12- month enrollment, student financial aid, fall enrollment, finance, 150 percent graduation rates, 200 percent graduation rates, and human resources (Jaquette and Parra 2014). Data collected in IPEDS are similar to those in HEGIS, thus supporting longitudinal panel data analy sis. Initially, IPEDS included Title IV and non- Title IV institutions, regardless of degree- granting or accreditation status ( Jaquette and Parra 2014). These types of institutions were included because IPEDS replaced two other national higher education surveys in addition to HEGIS: the Survey of Non- Collegiate Postsecondary Institutions and the Vocational Education Data System. After 2001, IPEDS only included Title...

book title

Higher Education and Silicon Valley: Connected But Conflicted

author list (cited authors)
Holzman, B.
editor list (cited editors)
Scott, W. R., & Kirst, M. W.
publication date
JHU Press Publisher
  • Business & Economics