The Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium


To serve the needs of private higher education for institutional research, decision support, assessment, and the advancement of liberal learning.


Charles Blaich


115 member institutions




Wabash College in Crawfordsville, IN, U.S.A.





Jack Dunn


Tufts University and EDUCOM


The Higher Education Data Sharing (HEDS) Consortium serves the needs of private higher education for institutional research, decision support, assessment, and the advancement of liberal learning.


The HEDS Consortium includes 115 private colleges and universities from across the United States. HEDS member institutions are committed to sharing and using information to advance the missions of their institutions. HEDS institutions are private, nonprofit, and regionally accredited. They grant bachelor’s degrees, and they are committed to undergraduate liberal arts education. Members include:

  • Agnes Scott College, GA
  • Albion College, MI
  • Albright College, PA
  • Allegheny College, PA
  • Alma College, MI
  • Augustana College, IL
  • Austin College, TX
  • Babson College, MA
  • Bard College, NY
  • Barnard College, NY
  • Bates College, ME
  • Beloit College, WI
  • Berea College, KY
  • Bryant University, RI
  • Bryn Mawr College, PA
  • Bucknell University, PA
  • Carleton College, MN
  • Central College, IA
  • Centre College, KY
  • Claremont McKenna College, CA
  • Colby College, ME
  • Colgate University, NY
  • College of St. Benedict, MN
  • College of the Holy Cross, MA
  • Colorado College, CO
  • Connecticut College, CT
  • Davidson College, NC
  • Denison University, OH
  • DePauw University, IN
  • Dickinson College, PA
  • Drew University, NJ
  • Earlham College, IN
  • Emerson College, MA
  • Franklin and Marshall College, PA
  • Furman University, SC
  • George Washington University, DC
  • Gettysburg College, PA
  • Grinnell College, IA
  • Guilford College, NC
  • Gustavus Adolphus College, MN
  • Hamilton College, NY
  • Hampshire College, MA
  • Hartwick College, NY
  • Harvey Mudd College, CA
  • Haverford College, PA
  • Hendrix College, AR
  • Hiram College, OH
  • Hobart and William Smith Colleges, NY
  • Hollins University, VA
  • Illinois College, IL
  • Illinois Wesleyan University, IL
  • Juniata College, PA
  • Kalamazoo College, MI
  • Kenyon College, OH
  • Knox College, IL
  • Lafayette College, PA
  • Lake Forest College, IL
  • Lawrence University, WI
  • Linfield College, OR
  • Luther College, IA
  • Lycoming College, PA
  • Macalester College, MN
  • Mercer University, GA
  • Middlebury College, VT
  • Mills College, CA
  • Millsaps College, MS
  • Muhlenberg College, PA
  • Occidental College, CA
  • Oglethorpe University, GA
  • Ohio Wesleyan University, OH
  • Oxford College of Emory University, GA
  • Pacific University, OR
  • Pitzer College, CA
  • Pomona College, CA
  • Principia College, IL
  • Randolph College, VA
  • Randolph-Macon College, VA
  • Reed College, OR
  • Rhodes College, TN
  • Roanoke College, VA
  • Rollins College, FL
  • Saint Anselm College, NH
  • Saint John's University, MN
  • Saint Mary's College, IN
  • Sarah Lawrence College, NY
  • Scripps College, CA
  • Smith College, MA
  • Southwestern University, TX
  • St. John's College, MD
  • St. Lawrence University, NY
  • St. Olaf College, MN
  • Stonehill College, MA
  • Susquehanna University, PA
  • Swarthmore College, PA
  • Trinity College, CT
  • Trinity University, TX
  • Union College, NY
  • University of Portland, OR
  • University of Puget Sound, WA
  • University of Scranton, PA
  • University of the South, TN
  • Ursinus College, PA
  • Vassar College, NY
  • Wabash College, IN
  • Wagner College, NY
  • Wake Forest University, NC
  • Washington and Jefferson College, PA
  • Washington and Lee University, VA
  • Wellesley College, MA
  • Wheaton College, MA
  • Whitman College, WA
  • Whittier College, CA
  • Williamette University, OR
  • Wittenberg University, OH
  • Wofford College, SC

Data SharingEdit

HEDS Consortium is dedicated to helping member institutions share and use data to advance their educational missions. HEDS institutions commit to openly sharing institutional and student data with one another with the understanding that both these data, and conversation with colleagues in HEDS about these data, will only be used for internal purposes, and will not be shared with audiences outside of the consortium. This commitment supports an atmosphere of transparency and collegial trust within the consortium that allows the open and honest consideration of and discussions about the data.

HEDS collects and shares the following institutional data:

  • Common Data Set (CDS)
  • HEDS Supplemental Data Set (SDS)
  • AAUP Faculty Compensation data
  • Tuition and fees
  • The number of actionable apps
  • The number of deposits

HEDS member institutions have the opportunity to share both individual- and institutional-level data from third-party surveys administer by the Center for Postsecondary Research, the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP), and the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI). These surveys include:

  • National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
  • CIRP Freshman Survey (TFS)
  • CIRP College Senior Survey (CSS)
  • HERI Faculty Survey

HEDS administers three surveys each year, and HEDS members and nonmembers may participate. Once the survey administration period concludes, HEDS members receive a tool that can compare their peers’ data to their own institution’s data. These surveys include:

  • HEDS Alumni Survey
  • HEDS Research Practices Survey (RPS)
  • HEDS Senior Survey


HEDS administers three surveys each year: the HEDS Research Practices Survey, the HEDS Alumni Survey, and the HEDS Senior Survey. Both HEDS member institutions and institutions that do not belong to the consortium may use HEDS surveys

HEDS Research Practices SurveyEdit

The HEDS Research Practices Survey is designed to assess information literacy, including student’s skills, attitudes, and approaches to using information sources in academic research.

When administered to incoming first-year students, the survey provides important comparative baseline information that faculty and librarians can use in developing pedagogies and materials to advance their students’ research and information literacy skills. When administered to both incoming and upper-level students, the Research Practices Survey can be used to assess the outcomes of liberal arts instruction in college-level research skills (longitudinally or cross-sectionally).

The HEDS Research Practices Survey is a 35-question online survey that takes about 15 minutes to complete. Since it was developed in 2004, the survey has been administered to more than 30,000 undergraduates at more than 60 colleges and universities.

HEDS Alumni SurveyEdit

The HEDS Alumni Survey is designed to assess the long-term impact of teaching practices and institutional conditions on liberal education learning goals such as critical thinking, information literacy, and problem solving. The HEDS Alumni Survey also examines postgraduate employment outcomes, college debt, and college satisfaction. The survey is based both on Wabash National Study findings on effective teaching practices and the AAC&U LEAP learning outcomes. It connects longitudinally with the HEDS Senior Survey so that institutions can examine both immediate and longer term college outcomes.

The HEDS Alumni Survey is a 93-question online survey that takes no more than 15 minutes to complete. In 2011–12, the survey was administered to nearly 12,000 alumni from 34 liberal arts and research institutions across the United States. Although institutions can administer the HEDS Alumni Survey to alumni from any era, HEDS comparison reports focus primarily on alumni five and ten years after graduation.

HEDS Senior SurveyEdit

The newly revised HEDS Senior Survey is designed to assess the immediate postgraduation impact of teaching practices and institutional conditions on liberal learning goals such as critical thinking, writing, speaking, and problem solving. Like the HEDS Alumni Survey, the HEDS Senior Survey is based both on Wabash National Study findings on effective teaching practices and the AAC&U LEAP learning outcomes. The HEDS Senior Survey also allows colleges and universities to gather information on seniors' postgraduate plans for employment, education, and service. HEDS has administered the Senior Survey since 1997. The HEDS Senior Survey is designed to be connected longitudinally with the HEDS Alumni Survey so that institutions can examine both immediate and longer term college outcomes. The HEDS Senior survey has 87 questions and should take students no longer than 15 minutes to complete.


HEDS hosts workshops that serve as intensive “data retreats” for three- or four-person teams from HEDS institutions. They are designed to give team members time to reflect on, make sense of, and develop action plans based on institutional or survey data.

Annual ConferenceEdit

Each year, HEDS holds an annual conference for its members. The annual conference typically focuses on a theme for the first day and then switches to a broader program for the second day. Themes of recent annual conferences include the economic issues facing liberal arts colleges, assessing alumni outcomes, and the costs and benefits of multi-institution collaboration. The broader sessions include presentations on almost any aspect of how people at member institutions use data to advance their institution’s mission. Session topics range from 10-minute how-to presentations, to conceptual talks on “why we compare our institutions to others,” to presentations on various data- or improvement-related campus projects. Aside from presentations, members use the annual conference to network with HEDS colleagues. 


HEDS was created in 1983 as a joint venture of Tufts University, EDUCOM, and participating colleges and universities. The organization’s original focus was on technology. Later, the HEDS Consortium shifted its focus to sharing institutional data.

HEDS relocated to Franklin and Marshall College in the early 1990s. In 1991, HEDS was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a not-for-profit organization. During the 1990s, HEDS expanded its membership, added more data sharing opportunities, and created and administered the HEDS Senior Survey, the HEDS Research Practices Survey, and the HEDS Alumni Survey.

In 2011, the consortium relocated to Wabash College under the guidance of the new HEDS Director, Charles Blaich. Blaich is also the director of the Center of Inquiry at Wabash College.

External LinksEdit

HEDS Consortium Website Center of Inquiry at Wabash College Website

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