Press Releases

States Must Include Postsecondary Enrollment Data on Report Cards

States Must Include Postsecondary Enrollment Data on Report Cards

WASHINGTON (May 25, 2017) – A new report by the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) finds that most states are not including postsecondary enrollment data on their online report cards, their most public-facing data resource.

While most states collect and report this information, many are publishing it in other places online where interested families and educators may not know to look, according to States Can and Must Include Postsecondary Enrollment Data on Report Cards, released today.  DQC’s analysis found that although 45 states calculate and publish this information online, only 17 states publish it on their report cards, where most people look for data about their schools.

“One of the greatest measures of school success is how well students are prepared for success after high school graduation.  Everyone who has a stake in education—from communities to educators to parents—needs to have this data presented within easy-to-find and detailed report cards. This information helps communities support continuous improvement, educators identify needs and successes, and parents make important decisions like choosing a school,” said Aimee Rogstad Guidera, president and CEO of the Data Quality Campaign.

States are now required to publish this data, where available, on report cards under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and our analysis shows that this is readily available in nearly every state.

The report also recommends how states can best present this information in the report card to make it easier for parents, school leaders, educators, and the community to understand how their students fare after leaving high school. States should:

  • Pair postsecondary enrollment data side by side with high school graduation rates to provide a fuller picture of how well high schools prepare their students for the future.
  • Break down enrollment data by four-year and two-year programs, as well as whether the institutions are private, public, in state, or out of state. States can also include data on postsecondary training that leads to a certificate or credential.
  • Include information on students pursuing pathways such as the military or entering the workforce directly after high school.
  • Go above and beyond ESSA’s reporting requirements by including data about postsecondary access and success like the number of students who successfully return for their second year (retention) or the number of students who are required to take foundational coursework in math or English their first year (remediation).

DQC spotlights Kentucky and Michigan’s report cards, which include a broader array of postsecondary enrollment information to provide a fuller picture of students’ postsecondary performance and success.

Federal policymakers can support states’ efforts by ensuring that they are able to report data for students who cross state lines to enroll in a postsecondary institution. Overturning the federal student unit record system ban is the first step in making this possible.

For more recommendations about how states can leverage the data opportunities in ESSA, read Opportunities to Make Data Work for Students in the Every Student Succeeds Act.


Contact: Brittany Mason,, 202-787-5716

About the Data Quality Campaign:
The Data Quality Campaign is a nonprofit policy and advocacy organization leading the effort to bring every part of the education community together to empower educators, families, and policymakers with quality information to make decisions that ensure students excel. For more information, go to and follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@EdDataCampaign).