2020/25 Beginning Postsecondary Student Longitudinal Study (BPS:20/25) FAQ

Thank you for your interest in this important research.

BPS:20/25 is a nationally representative study that follows students’ paths through postsecondary education. We need participants for focus groups where they will test, evaluate, and provide feedback on select survey questions from BPS:20/25 to improve the survey. We are looking for students who enrolled in a college, university, or trade school within the past five years.

During the 60-minute focus group, you will complete survey questions and provide feedback on the survey questions and your overall experience.

You will receive a $40 e-gift card from a major credit card company at the end as a thank you.

Your feedback will improve the survey, so that it can be easily understood and answered by thousands of current and recent college, university, and trade school students across the country.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What is the purpose of this study?

On behalf of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), EurekaFacts, a research company based in Rockville, MD, is looking for students who enrolled in a college, university, or trade school within the past three year to participate in focus groups, to provide feedback on a set of survey questions from the 2020/25 Beginning Postsecondary Student Longitudinal Study (BPS:20/25). Your feedback about the survey will help NCES improve the survey, so that it can be easily understood and answered by thousands of current and recent college students across the country. NCES is authorized to conduct this study by the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (ESRA 2002, 20 U.S.C. §9543), and this research has been reviewed and approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB# 1850-0803).

Where will the focus group session take place?

The focus group session will be held remotely online using Zoom at a time depending on the participant’s availability. The link to the session will be provided after you confirm your participation. There is no need to download any software.

What will happen during the session?

During the focus group session, you will be asked to answer survey questions about your postsecondary education experiences, including information about federal loan borrowing and certain types of degree requirements. After answering survey questions, the focus group moderator will guide the discussion to get your opinion on the survey. These questions ask you to evaluate the difficulty of the survey questions, your confidence in your answers, and your understanding of the survey questions.

What kind of device can I take the survey on?

Participants who complete the online focus group must have access to a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer with a working webcam and microphone in addition to a stable internet connection. Please do not sign in using your smartphone because we will be sharing materials on the screen during the session, and you will need to be able to see and read them clearly. We can provide participants who want to participate remotely with a webcam if they do not have one; the webcam will need to be returned to receive the incentive.

How long will the whole session last?

The focus group session will not exceed 60 minutes. We ask you to sign in 10 minutes prior to the start time to check that your technology is functioning properly and to allow ample time for troubleshooting. As we all know, technology can sometimes be unpredictable, and we would like to maximize the time we have together. A EurekaFacts staff member will be available to assist. Please be aware that anyone arriving more than 15 minutes late will not be allowed to participate as it is disruptive to the group and therefore, they will forfeit their incentive.

Will information be kept confidential?

Each participant will be assigned a unique identifier (ID) and your name will not be linked to your answers or comments. All information provided by participants will be used only for research purposes and may not be disclosed, or used, in identifiable form for any other purpose except as required by law (20 U.S.C. §9573 and 6 U.S.C. §151). The session’s video and audio will be recorded and used solely for analysis purposes; no identifying information will be shared in our report. Audio and video of the session will be recorded only for analysis, and all personally identifying information will be destroyed at the close of the study.

Is there an incentive for participating?

Yes. If you participate and do not borrow a webcam, you will receive your $40 e-gift card via e-mail 7-10 business days after the session. The e-gift card will be from a major credit card company. If you participate and borrow a webcam, your $40 e-gift card will be e-mailed 7-10 days after we receive the webcam back from you.

What are the possible risks of being in the study?

No risk greater than those experienced in ordinary conversation are anticipated. Everyone will be asked to respect the privacy of the other focus group participants. All participants will be asked not to disclose anything said within the context of the discussion, but it is important to understand that other people in the group with you may not keep all information private.

Who can I contact with questions or for further information?

If you have any questions about the study, please e-mail us at outreach@eurekafacts.com or call 240-403-1650 and ask about the BPS:20/25 Focus Group study. If you have questions about your rights as a study participant, you can review the EurekaFacts, LLC Privacy Policy for details on our policies and procedures.

Can I choose to end my participation at any time?

Your participation in this research study is completely voluntary. You do not have to respond to any questions that you do not wish to answer. You can withdraw at any time or leave the session early if you wish. If you choose to leave early, you may forfeit part, or all the incentive offered for participation.

If you are interested in participating, please answer a few questions and see if you are eligible to take part.