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Data/Research: College Finance & Operations

Reporting on higher education finance and operations requires background information on how colleges are funded, whether they are financially secure and how their facilities are maintained.

American Association of University Professors (AAUP): National faculty union, which produces an annual faculty compensation survey with national averages and salaries by rank and institution.

American Educational Research Association (AERA): People who study both K-12 and higher education; can supply experts on topics relating to finance and operations.

APPA (originally the Association of Physical Plant Administrators): Represents higher education facilities officers; tracks deferred maintenance (also known as deferred renewal).

Association for the Study of Higher Education: Can supply experts on topics relating to higher education finance and operations.

Association of Governing Boards: Organization of university and college regents and trustees; conducts surveys of governing board members.

Center for the Study of Higher Education: A department at the University of Arizona that can furnish expert sources.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP): Tracks state spending on public higher education.

Chronicle of Higher Education: Provides searchable lists of college and university endowment totals, returns and executive salaries.

College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR): Tracks administrative benefits and other data.

CollegeData.com: Provides free access to allow consumers to track college costs and compare them among institutions.

College Navigator: Consumer-facing website produced by the National Center for Education Statistics that is a quick way to find and compare institutional data.

Common Data Set: Available on most college and university websites, with up-to-date data about enrollment, persistence, selectivity, financial aid and number of faculty.

EWA tip sheets and other resources, like How to Tell if Your College Is Going Broke or How to Monitor a College’s Financial Stability.

EMMA: Electronic Municipal Market Access: Website with free information about municipal bonds, which universities and colleges often use to raise money. 

 Financial Fitness Tracker: Aggregates measures of institutions’ financial health and flags potential warning signs; produced by The Hechinger Report.

Fitch: Database that lists the credit ratings of particular institutions, offering insight into the schools’ ability to repay their debts.

Gordian: A consulting firm that produces an annual database about the state of higher education facilities called Sightlines.

Guidestar: Collects Form 990s from nonprofit organizations including universities and colleges; requires free subscription.

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, or IPEDS: federal database, operated by the National Center for Education Statistics, of information colleges and universities are required to disclose.

Moody’s: An organization that rates the credit-worthiness of higher education institutions.

National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO): Annually reports national average discount rate and information about endowments.

National Student Clearinghouse Research Center: Tracks enrollment and persistence.

ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer: Collects Form 990s from nonprofit organizations including universities and colleges and provides them through an easy-to-use website.

Roosevelt Institute: A think tank that monitors higher education finances, including the ways endowment funds are invested.

Standard & Poor’s: Assigns credit ratings and rankings to higher education institutions.

State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO): Tracks state funding for higher education.

TIAA Institute: Studies and produces research about higher education workforce trends.

Western Interstate Compact for Higher Education (WICHE): Projects nationwide higher education enrollment in its “Knocking at the College Door” reports.

Updated May 2021