NCES Data Institute

2019 Application Process

Call for applications will open
late summer/early fall 2018

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​The newly redesigned NCES Data Institute: Using Federal Datasets to Support Research on Postsecondary Education (Institute) provides an intensive introduction to National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) datasets and research methodologies. The Institute is ideal for graduate students, early to mid-career IR professionals, faculty, and staff from state and federal agencies, and other higher education organizations. The Institute is limited to 30 participants. Participants will:

  • Increase their knowledge of IPEDS and other NCES datasets

  • Apply their new knowledge of IPEDS and other NCES datasets in a group setting

  • Gain an understanding of how federal data are utilized in postsecondary education research 

  • Learn how to form their own higher education research agendas

2018 Application Process - Complete

Application Deadline was 11:59 PM (ET) January 3, 2018.

Applicants were notified of selection results via email on February 9, 2018.

For more information about the application process and requirements, see the guidelines (PDF) document.

2018 Institute Components

  1. Six-week online course

  2. Six-week group capstone project 

  3. Three-day face-to-face meeting in Washington, D.C.

Each of these components build on one another to create a holistic learning experience. Participants are required to complete all Institute components.

Cost: The Institute is free; however, participants are responsible for the travel costs of attending the face-to-face meeting (transportation, lodging, and meals).

Detailed Schedule


March 12 – April 22, 2018
Six-Week Online Course 

Prior to starting the course, participants are assigned to a research group and a dedicated mentor. The mentor supports group participants as they move through the course material, which includes:

  • An intensive introduction to NCES datasets

  • An introduction to research methodologies when using national datasets

  • Individual and group exercises that reinforce the content and allow participants to apply their new knowledge


April 23 – June 3, 2018
Six-Week Capstone Project

Immediately following completion of the online course, each research group—with guidance from their mentor—will work together to complete a research project, which includes:

  • Exploring and selecting a research topic

  • Developing a research question

  • Completing a literature review for their project

  • Identifying what NCES datasets are relevant to their project and performing their analysis

  • Writing an executive summary and a draft research paper


June 11 – 13, 2018
Three-Day Face-to-Face Meeting – Washington, DC

This collaborative and interactive meeting builds on the knowledge participants gained during the online course and capstone project. The meeting takes place in Washington, D.C. and features:

  • Presentations and panel discussions on topics, such as higher education research and policy, how to get published, accessing restricted-use data, and weighting

  • Rotating roundtables providing a more personalized and in-depth discussion on topics

  • Dedicated time for research groups to refine their projects based on feedback from NCES staff and fellow participants

  • An opportunity for research groups to present their research to all meeting participants


​Join the conversation on Twitter at #NCESDataInstitute2018


The Institute is supported by NCES and is developed and operated by AIR. Questions​​? Contact Tinsley Smith, Director of Contract and Grants, AIR, at or 850-391-7109.​​​​​​​​​​​