2019–20 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:20)

Focus Group Sessions 


What is this study about? 

On behalf of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and in collaboration with RTI International, EurekaFacts, a research company based in Rockville, MD, is administering focus group sessions with staff at various postsecondary educational institutions for the editing of the 2019–20 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:20). The purpose of the focus group is to help NCES better understand how data is organized and collected at respective institutions, the challenges with collecting data at institutions, and how the Postsecondary Data Portal (PDP) website can be improved. Feedback from focus group discussions will be used to improve student records collection instruments for future NCES studies. 

Where will the focus group take place? 

Your focus group will be virtual and take place online. You will receive a confirmation email containing the link and login information. 

Do I need to do anything special for this online focus group? 

For online focus groups, you will need to have a reliable internet connection, a webcam and a quiet private space where you can engage in the session for its duration. You will need to return your electronically signed consent form prior to the start of the session. All instructions will be provided in a confirmation email. 

What will happen during the focus group? 

You are one of up to 10 individuals in your focus group who will be asked to discuss factors related to NPSAS data collection. A EurekaFacts moderator will guide the topics of discussion but, ultimately, all participants will be asked to freely offer their opinions, feedback, and input. 

All focus groups will be audio recorded to make sure we don’t leave out or misrepresent anything you say. Please see the question below for information regarding the protection of your privacy. 

Will information be confidential? 

Each participant will be assigned a unique identifier (ID) so your name will not be linked to your answers. All of the information provided by participants may be used only for statistical 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). Audio from the session will be recorded only for analysis. NCES is authorized to conduct this study by the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (ESRA 2002, 20 U.S.C. §9543). 

How long will the focus group last and when will it take place? 

The focus group will last approximately 90 minutes. Focus groups will be held in groups of up to 10 other education professionals; please see your confirmation email for the date and time of your session. 

Will the results go to the participant’s place of work? 

Participants’ responses will not be disclosed to their place of work and will not be linked to any personally identifiable information. 

Is there an incentive for participating? 

Yes. Upon completion of the focus group session, each participant will receive a $50 Amazon gift card. This will be sent via email. You may decline the gift card if required by your institution. 

What are the possible risks of being in the study? 

There are no known risks to participating in this voluntary study. 

Who can I contact with questions or for further information? 

If you have any questions about the study, you can call Cecilia Teal, the Project Manager at 240-345-9760. If you have questions about your rights as a study participant, you can call the EurekaFacts Office of Research Protection at 240-403-4800. 

Can participation end early? 

Participation in this study is completely voluntary. You have the right to refuse to answer particular questions. You may elect to withdraw from this study at any time and can leave the session early if you wish.