IPEDS Update: GASB Finance Survey New Pension Screen

Public institutions using Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) standards to report IPEDS data will notice an unanticipated change in the 2015-16 Finance survey component form. Recently, GASB added unfunded pension liabilities to its reporting standards (GASB Standard 68). To ensure alignment with these new GASB standards, NCES submitted an emergency request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which was approved in November 2015.

However, if your institution fits any of the following criteria, the changes to GASB will not affect your institution’s reporting of IPEDS data:

  • If your public institution does not have a defined pension benefit plan;
  • If your public institution is part of a higher education system and the system reflects the additional unfunded pension expense and liability (and does not allocate the expense and liability to the individual institutions);
  • If your institution is a branch campus that did not have pension expense and liabilities allocated to it; or
  • If your institution is part of a special funding situation and additional unfunded pension expense, liability, or deferral are reported elsewhere.

A screening question at the beginning of the Finance survey asks if your institution recognized additional (or decreased) pension expense, additional liability (or assets), or additional deferral related to the implementation of GASB Statement 68 for one or more defined benefit pension plans (either as a single employer, agent employer, or cost-sharing multiple employer) in Fiscal Year 2015. If yes, your institution will complete a new survey screen, Part M, shown below. If no, additional data reporting will not be required.


There are approximately 2,000 public institutions reporting IPEDS using GASB standards and this change is estimated to increase IPEDS reporting burden by 30 minutes for these institutions.
The changes have been reflected in the most current versions of survey materials, which is available for review at the NCES website. For more information about the revisions, see the Federal Register notice. Please contact the IPEDS Help Desk with any questions or concerns (877-225-2568, ipedshelp@rti.org).



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