Custom Research

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center undertakes custom research projects for educational institutions, organizations, government agencies, and others seeking to learn the educational patterns and outcomes of the cohort they are studying. We work closely with each research partner to define the questions about the area of interest on which they want to focus, and then leverage our existing data to examine the research questions and provide custom analysis.

The data used by the Research Center in custom research projects are drawn from the nationwide enrollment and degree information provided regularly to the National Student Clearinghouse by its more than 3,600 participating institutions. All types of postsecondary institutions are included: two-year and four-year institutions, public and private institutions, and nonprofit and for-profit institutions. As a result, we are able to provide our research partners with the most timely and comprehensive information on student pathways available.

Types of Custom Research Projects

Examples of past custom research projects include:

  • Enrollment patterns and their relation to college completion for student subgroups or institutions¹
  • Influence of outside programs on college attendance and completion patterns
  • Student performance for schools and networks against established metrics
  • Student transfer and mobility patterns for student subgroups or institutions¹

¹Not previously published in a national report released by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center

Beginning a Project

You can start a custom research project in one of two ways:

  1. You provide us with a list of individuals for whom you want to receive educational outcomes in a report format. You must have a relationship with the cohort you submit to us.
  2. If you do not have individual-level data, we can provide you with aggregate information to answer particular research questions (e.g., enrollment trends, completion patterns). In order to protect student privacy, identifiable information on individual and institutions will not be included.


Our Process

During the initial phase, one of our researchers will work with you to gather more details about your project, such as:

  • Cohort definition
  • Desired outcomes
  • Form in which outcomes should be provided

This information will be used to develop a project outline, along with a time and cost estimate, for your review and approval. Upon approval, you will receive a custom research agreement to sign and return. Once the agreement is executed, your project will be scheduled.

Typical Project Time Estimates

  • Respond to inquiry: 3 days
  • Project outline and agreement: 20 days
  • Research analysis: 4-6 weeks, on average

Estimates do not include time waiting for responses from the research partner and time required to research new types of outcomes or data usage.

> How to Submit a Custom Research Request or Get More Information

If you would like to pursue a custom research project with our Research Center, please fill in the contact form below.

We also welcome suggestions for new research report topics. Have an idea? Contact us here.
(We do not respond to this type of inquiry, but will take your suggestion into consideration.)

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