Postsecondary Data Partnership (PDP)





Better Data. Better Decisions. Better Outcomes

Achieving the Dream is a proud organizational partner of the National Student Clearinghouse’s Postsecondary Data Partnership (PDP), a nationwide effort to answer the call for better data for informed decisions to support improved outcomes. ATD strongly encourages all ATD network colleges to join and become institutional partners.


Institutional benefits

  • Access data on every new student regardless of prior educational experience, enrollment intensity or the term of entry
  • Explore institutional performance on early momentum, persistence/retention, credential completion, transfer metrics and time to credential.
  • Use an intersectional approach to disaggregating student outcomes data, visualize and track equity gaps over time.
  • Share the dashboards as a tool to use and communicate data with no per user license fees
  • Monitor the impact of high impact practices, such as pathways reforms, on key performance indicators that research indicates are correlated with retention and  completion
  • Analyze the data in the analysis-ready file to find the students who will benefit from additional success-driven supports 
  • Benchmark against peer institutions by state and Carnegie Classification
  • Reduce reporting burden by authorizing data sharing with Achieving the Dream,  state Student Success Center and other participating partner organizations

System and State benefits
All the benefits at the institution-level, plus the ability to:

  • Centralize the data submission process and submit data on behalf of institutions to reduce the burden on individual institutions 
  • Access institution-level data and a roll-up at the system-level to determine where outcomes are improving
  • Visualize data in a user-friendly, easy to understand format for state legislators and policy makers
  • Monitor the impact of system/state reforms on student success and on narrowing equity gaps at the state-level

Organizational benefits
Many of the benefits described above, plus:

  • Access a comprehensive set of student outcome metrics that use the same definitions and one common data source instead of having to manage data collection or burden institutions with reporting data
  • Mine the data in the analysis-ready files to identify which institutions are improving student outcomes and narrowing equity gaps and develop research briefs to inform the field
  • Monitor the impact of organizational reforms on student success and on narrowing equity gaps at the organizational level
  • Establish an organizational benchmark by which to compare your participating institutions
  • Support your institutions in using and communicating data as a tool to support a culture of evidence and advance equity

ATD provides the following PDP supports to institutions, systems, states and organizations:

  • Postsecondary Data Partnership self-guided course, modularized course book in ATD Connect

To request access please email Laurie Heacock at

  • Case-making webinars
  • On-boarding webinars
  • Technical Assistance for File Submissions
  • Train-the-Trainer Dashboard Workshops
  • Leading Indicators and Metrics Mapping Workshops
  • Equity-minded Sensemaking Workshops
  • Data Coaching
  • Peer Learning

To learn more or inquire about services, please contact Laurie Heacock, or Bobbie Frye


Partner Resources

Postsecondary Data Partnership Toolkit

BETTER DATA, BETTER DECISIONS: The Postsecondary Data Partnership helps states and institutions understand data and turn it into action, making it a vital tool to ensure more students complete college.


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Press Releases

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  • This technical brief was developed in partnership with Achieving the Dream and Nebraska Indian Community College.

    In 2019, Nebraska Indian Community College (NICC) joined the National Student ClearinghousePostsecondary Data Partnership (PDP).

    This technical brief will discuss an approach to prepare Postsecondary Data Partnership (PDP) data collections that consist of the development of both term cohort files and course files.

    The process utilized course and cohort file templates provided by National Student Clearinghouse, query extractions developed by the Empower representative, data cleaning by the institution’s registrar, and further processing by the Achieving the Dream (ATD) data coach, utilizing SAS software which is useful for processing and merging files. The data preparation approach was employed by NICC during the initial PDP data collection in the fall of 2019 and yielded successful participation in the PDP. This brief can be used as an approach for data preparation for the PDP data collection process.


    Resource Files

  • This case study was developed in partnership with Achieving the Dream and Nebraska Indian Community College.
    In the fall of 2019, Nebraska Indian Community College became the first tribal college to participate in a new data service of the National Student Clearinghouse called the Postsecondary Data Partnership (PDP).

    A small college with high aspirations for its students, NICC was in the process of building data capacity and adopting data-driven decision making to improve student retention and outcomes. The college leadership was drawn to the potential trove of actionable information on current and former students that only the PDP could produce. Plus, with the data to be delivered in interactive dashboards, the college would be saved from having to arduously build its own dashboards. The PDP would make it easy to release and act upon the stories the data might hold. The following case study describes how the NICC made it happen.

    Resource Files

    ATD Leveraging Partnerships Case Study833.38 KB

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