Analytics and Institutional Research

Other Data Sources

Common Data Sets

The Common Data Set (CDS) initiative is a collaborative effort among data providers in the higher education community and publishers as represented by the College Board, Peterson's, and U.S. News & World Report. The combined goal of this collaboration is to improve the quality and accuracy of information provided to all involved in a student's transition into higher education, as well as to reduce the reporting burden on data providers.

Sections within the CDS include enrollment and persistence, first-time and transfer admission, academic offerings, student life, expenses, financial aid, faculty and class size, and degrees conferred.

For more information please visit

IPEDS - Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System

IPEDS Data Center
St. Cloud State's UnitID is 174783.

IPEDS is a system of interrelated surveys conducted annually by the U.S. Department’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). IPEDS gathers information from every college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs.

IPEDS provides basic data needed to describe — and analyze trends in — postsecondary education in the United States, in terms of the numbers of students enrolled, staff employed, dollars expended, and degrees earned.

NSSE - National Survey of Student Engagement

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE, or “Nessie”) is a nationally prominent measure of institutional quality that is more authentic than traditional methods that focus on relatively tangential and indirect criteria pertaining to resources and reputation (e.g., those employed by publications such as U.S. News and World Report). Guided by decades of empirical research on college student outcomes, the NSSE focuses on aspects of the undergraduate experience that “make a difference” relative to student success. 

More specifically, the NSSE measures:

  1. The extent to which students engage in educationally purposeful activities that are known to be associated with a wide range of desired learning and developmental outcomes including persistence and graduation, and
  2. Institutional conditions that are conducive to such engagement. 

NSSE results are reported at two levels of analysis (both with comparisons to external groups of institutions):

  1. Individual survey items with trends across all five administrations, and
  2. The five NSSE Benchmarks of Effective Educational Practice (2009).

Note: Reference to the NSSE 2011 survey instrument can aid your exploration and interpretation of these reports.

Number of students who completed the NSSE, by year

  2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 2013
First Year 199 234 161 490 458 347 335
Seniors 217 240 199 730 651 498 583
Total 416 474 360 1220 1109 845 918

College Portrait

The Voluntary System of Accountability is designed to improve public understanding of how public colleges and universities operate. The VSA project is a collaborative effort among the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), and the public higher education community.

The College Portrait provides consistent, comparable and transparent information to help current and future students and their families make informed decisions on the characteristics of institutions and students, student engagement with the learning process, and core educational outcomes.

St. Cloud State University encourages you to check out our College Portrait below as you begin to explore the higher education opportunities available to you.

College Learning Assessment (CLA)

The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) offers an authentic approach to assessment and improvement of teaching and learning in higher education. Over 400 institutions and 180,000 students have participated to date. 

The CLA presents realistic problems that require students to analyze complex materials. Several different types of materials are used that vary in relevance to the task, credibility, and other characteristics. Students’ written responses to the task are graded to assess their abilities to think critically, reason analytically, solve problems, and communicate clearly and cogently.

SCSU’s Institutional Reports

Strategic Analytics & Management System (SAMS)

Access to SAMS is currently restricted to University administrators, department/program chairs and support staff, student relations coordinators, administrative directors and other stakeholders with a business need. To request access, contact the Analytics and Institutional Research at

The Strategic Analytics & Management System (SAMS) is an institutional intelligence system that provides leaders with the information and analysis capabilities they need to make key decisions, to understand their responsibilities in strategy execution, and to track progress toward strategic and operational goals. SAMS will enhance the use of data in university planning and budgeting, integrate and streamline access to disparate data sources, and increase accountability to internal and external stakeholders.