Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success

Can we adequately answer questions about postsecondary outcomes and value?  No

Data play a crucial role in improving college access, completion, and career readiness.

  1. Students need clear and timely information about how much college will cost, how long it will take to graduate, and how well a degree will prepare them for the job market and enable them to repay their loans.
  • Colleges and universities need real-time data to identify whether their students are on track toward success, and to deploy timely support strategies that enable students to make their way toward certificates and degrees.
  • Policymakers need comprehensive and comparable data about how colleges and universities perform on key measures, such as access, cost, completion, outcomes related to learning, debt, and earnings to help make informed decisions about allocating limited resources.

Existing metrics often ignore many of today’s students, who are more likely to be part-time students, older students, students from low-income backgrounds, students of color, and first-generation college-goers. Colleges and universities, and their data systems, must reflect the experiences and outcomes of all students.

More than a decade of work in the field has yielded important lessons about how to improve data systems and use data to improve student outcomes. The foundation captured those lessons in Answering the Call, a report that also presents a framework for measuring access, progression, completion, cost, and post-college outcomes.



To learn more, watch the following videos about why better data matters.

Video: Michelle Cooper, President, Institute for Higher Education Policy

Video: Deborah Santiago,  COO and vice president for policy at Excelencia in Education

Video: Kati Haycock, former president of the Education Trust