On behalf of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), EurekaFacts, a social science research firm, is looking for current or recent students who attended a college, university, or trade school within the past two years to participate in a focus group to provide feedback on a set of survey questions for the 2023-24 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:24). NPSAS:24 is a nationally representative study that collects data on how students and their families pay for postsecondary education. 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.
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. Please plan to sign into the session from as quiet and private a place with a stable internet connection as possible.
What will happen during the session?
During the focus group session, a moderator will lightly guide discussions of a group of 5-8 participants to get a better understanding of their experiences, beliefs, and feelings on the topic at hand. In the remote focus groups, participants will view, interact with, and join in discussions with other participants in a video conference and not in-person. Participants will test, evaluate, and provide feedback on select survey questions for NPSAS:24 to improve the survey. Project researchers and a technical team may observe the session and group discussion to aid in operation.
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 90 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 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.
Is there an incentive for participating?
Yes. If you participate and do not borrow a webcam, you will receive your $75 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 $75 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?
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 click on the following link to answer a few questions and see if you are eligible to take part: https://survey.vovici.com/se/325F8C656954B884
OMB Control No.: 1850-0803