Comparing Barton Community College to area peers using the institution’s own data is one thing, but an independent, apples-to-apples survey is even better, says Charles Perkins, Barton’s dean of information services. A website allows prospective college students and their parents to compare schools online, checking everything from enrollment and graduation rates to costs, Perkins said.
The Integrated Postsecondary Education DataSystem (IPEDS) collects data from nearly 6,700 post-secondary institutions across the United States. The data collected are used at the federal and state level for policy analysis and development, Perkins said. The college uses it to compare itself with peer institutions, and the Washington Monthly magazine relied on the information when it named Barton one America’s 50 best community colleges in September.
"IPEDS is a very important report that we do," Perkins said. "It’s pretty much every institution in the nation."
The site shows Barton students receive more than $1,000 in financial aid than the average, a fact President Carl Heilman credits to a proactive financial aid department that is ahead of schedule on meeting federal regulations. Financial aid at Barton increased by about $1 million this year.
Students and parents can access online information through the College Navigator (http://collegenavigator.ed.gov), to aid in the college search process. For more information about IPEDS, see http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds.