Research and Data

Welcome to NACAC's Research Web page, where you can find a variety of reports and tools relating to the world of college admission and college bound students.

Research Update

A bi-weekly update featuring the latest research news from NACAC as well as links to recent studies related to admission and college counseling, scholarly report summaries, and more!

NACAC Research

Read NACAC research reports, including the annual State of College Admission report, NACAC-sponsored discussion papers, and research to practice briefs. These materials explore issues of concern to college-bound students, their parents and the educators who serve them.

Search for Stats

Search for information on secondary schools, colleges and universities, and statistics related to the college transition and college-bound students. Or, build your own tables and custom data sets using free tools provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.


 Defining Promise

Defining Promise: Optional Standardized Testing Policies in American College and University Admissions
This report, written by William Hiss and Valerie Franks, is a comprehensive effort to assess student outcomes in test-optional admission settings. It specifically contributes to the discussion related to recommendations and research by NACAC's Commission on the Use of Standardized Admission Tests in Undergraduate Admission.
For more information about standardized tests in college admission, visit:

 Prior-Prior Year Income Data


The FAFSA is the most important form regarding student financial aid; the most important part of that form is the self-reported income data. 


Students are encouraged to submit the form as early as possible because some forms of aid are limited and are distributed on a first-come first-serve basis. Therefore, early access to income data is crucial. Policy experts have argued that allowing students to submit earlier data, called prior-prior year (PPY), would make filing the FAFSA easier. 


To address concerns about PPY and how it might affect student aid eligibility, the National Association for Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) analyzed more than 70,000 students records over five years. 


The video below discusses findings from the NASFAA report "A tale of Two Income Years: Comparing Prior-Prior Year and Prior Year Through Pell Grant Awards."




 Pathways to College Online Library

From the American Institutes for Research:
The Pathways to College Online Library is a searchable database of publications, research reports, websites, and other resources for researchers, education leaders, and policymakers working to improve college and career readiness.