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IPEDS Completion Is 75% Faster with Automated Data Preparation

Mount Saint Mary’s University’s partnership with EAB’s Rapid Insight


Mount Saint Mary’s University (MSMU) is a private college with 3,000 students, a 72% retention rate, and a 63% six-year graduation rate.

Quick Facts

  • Mount Saint Mary’s University, a private women’s college in Los Angeles, CA
  • 3,000 students
  • 72% retention rate
  • Rapid Insight partner
  • The Challenge

    Like every American university that receives federal financial aid funding, MSMU is required to submit a large amount of data to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)’s Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS). MSMU’s existing process for gathering, organizing, and submitting data consumed 40 tedious hours of staff time across multiple research analysts. It required manual data input and a time-consuming verification process to ensure accuracy prior to submission.

  • The Solution

    MSMU used Rapid Insight to develop workflows for the IPEDS Completions Survey, one of three major reporting periods each year. The workflows gather data from all relevant sources and compile a clean, accurate file for automated upload to the NCES. The saved, repeatable workflows can be reused each IPEDS cycle with minimal updates to match new IPEDS submission guidelines.

  • The Results

    Rapid Insight reduced the time required to finish the Completions Survey by 75%, from 40 hours to 10. This freed up two staff members to work on other institutional priorities. MSMU currently uses Rapid Insight for the IPEDS Completions Survey and plans to develop workflows for the remaining IPEDS surveys.

Impact Highlights


Reduction in time required to submit IPEDS surveys


Staff members with added capacity for other projects


Hours saved each year on data entry and validation

Automated Workflows Accelerate IPEDS Data Gathering and Formatting

In previous years, SAU’s Faculty Finance Committee (FFC) reviewed data for a few select departments. Using APS metrics and analyses, the finance team was able to create comprehensive department-level reports to measure the health of all departments. By including both operational and financial metrics, department chairs were able to understand how their operational decisions impacted their financial results.

IPEDS Reporting at MSMU: Before and After Rapid Insight

Before Rapid Insight

  • IR Director manually compiled data in a reference report
  • Two IR staff members checked every line of the report for accuracy
  • IR Director entered data page-by-page on the NCES site

With Rapid Insight

  • Data exports in an accurate, formatted file for easy IPEDS upload
  • Director of IR reviews the data for completeness
  • Data uploaded in a single click, and repeatable workflows can be re-used each cycle with minimal updates

Rapid Insight Drives Significant IPEDS Submission Time Reduction

Experience Quickens the IPEDS Process, But Pairing Experience with Rapid Insight Drastically Reduces Burden

Total Annual Keyholder Time Commitment for IPEDS Reporting

Source: National Center for Education Statistics


Rapid Insight significantly reduced the time for manual entry and verification... You still have control over the information. When I went back to see what the data would be if I entered it myself, it was all correct.


Maria Narvaez, Director of Institutional Research & Planning