Postsecondary data system privacy and funding focus of new Strong Foundations report

In a new report, the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) examines the ongoing efforts and challenges states have in safeguarding and sustaining their postsecondary student unit record systems (PSURSs). PSURSs are the primary means for states to collect data and analyze student progress, completions, and outcomes. 

For more than 50 years, state higher education agencies have used PSURSs to inform policy and decision-making. In a survey to its members, SHEEO asked state higher education agencies about their PSURSs – survey responses and analysis are outlined in a Strong Foundations report and subsequent dashboards on the website. To understand the influence of changing data governance and funding realities, in Strong Foundations 2023, SHEEO extended its examination into data privacy and security standards. 

SHEEO’s new report State Postsecondary Data: How Data Governance and Funding Influence Innovation and Sustainability, shows a continued commitment to protecting the security and privacy of PSURSs data, with all state agencies following established federal and state data handling standards. State agencies are also adhering to established internal data policies to reduce the risk of data loss and privacy violations. They continue to have data breach protocols in place or comply with overarching state protocols. Recognizing robust protocols and infrastructures alone is not enough, state agencies are taking additional steps. They provide training to staff to ensure the appropriate use of data and PII; are building upon data governance councils to ensure data security and privacy standards are in place; and are creating Chief Data Privacy officer positions

Looking toward the future, state agencies have a slate of planned technology priorities to improve PSURSs’ impacts and processes and to reduce risk to those systems. They reported the need to hire new staff or leverage current personnel to help improve capacity, governance, and use of their PSURSs in response to increasing demands by state stakeholders for targeted, real-time, and consumable data reporting.

“Universally, state agencies emphasized the need for further investment in their PSURSs to stay economically competitive and to meet state objectives,” said Carrie Klein, Associate Vice President at SHEEO. “As states seek to improve student outcomes and state goals, they need more support of PSURS infrastructure, data, and personnel.”

Find more information about data and privacy efforts around student postsecondary data systems in this new report here

A revamped website with new dashboards has been developed to help SHEEO members understand the full survey results from the Strong Foundations 2023 report. Visit to explore or download the data.