NCES Data Institute

2022 Application Process Opens September 27

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

Important Dates

  • Wednesday, October 27, 2021: Application deadline at 11:59 p.m. ET
  • Monday, January 3, 2022: Applicants will be notified via email from AIR

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2022 NCES Data Institute Guidelines

About the Institute

The 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
  • Staff from state and federal agencies and other higher education organizations. 

The Institute is limited to 30 participants who'd like to:

  • Increase their knowledge of IPEDS and other NCES datasets
  • Apply their new knowledge of IPEDS and other NCES datasets in a group setting
  • Understand how federal data are utilized in postsecondary education research 
  • Form their own higher education research agendas

Read more about the Institute from two past participants.

2022 Institute Components*

  1. 5-week online course
  2. 16-week group capstone project
  3. 3-day face-to-face meeting in Washington D.C.

*Each of these components builds on one another to create a holistic learning experience. Participants are required to participate in and complete all elements of the Institute. 

Cost: While there is no charge for any component of the Institute, participants are responsible for the cost to attend the face-to-face meeting (travel, lodging, and meals).

Detailed Schedule



January 18 – February 18, 2022
5-week online course

Prior to starting the course, participants are assigned to a research group. Course material includes:

  • An intensive introduction to NCES datasets
  • An introduction to research methodologies when using national datasets
  • Exercises that reinforce the content and allow participants to apply their new knowledge



February 21 – June 10, 2022
16-week capstone project

Immediately following completion of the online course, each research group—with guidance from mentors—works together to complete a research project, which includes:

  • Exploring potential research topics
  • Conducting a literature review
  • Developing a group research question
  • Identifying relevant NCES datasets
  • Performing analysis using public-use data
  • Writing an executive summary
  • Preparing a PowerPoint presentation



June 14–16, 2022
3-day face-to-face meeting in Washington D.C.

This collaborative and interactive meeting builds on the knowledge participants gained during the online course and capstone project. The meeting features:

  • An orientation to the U.S. Department of Education, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), NCES, and the National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (NPEC).
  • Panel discussions and speaker presentations on topics such as higher education research, publishing, the role of the higher education community, and policy.
  • An opportunity for groups to present their research projects to NCES and all meeting participants.
  • Dedicated time for research groups to refine their projects based on feedback from NCES staff and fellow participants.
  • Time to develop plans to complete the projects and discuss the potential for dissemination of results after the Institute through conference presentations and/or publications.


The Institute is supported by NCES and is developed and operated by AIR.

Questions? Email or call 850-391-7109.