Main Nav

Department of Education Looks to APIs to Increase Access to Student Aid, Higher Education Data

On April 16, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) published a request for information (RFI) in the Federal Register asking for input on the use of Application Program Interfaces (APIs) for higher education data and student aid programs and processes at the Department. As explained in ED’s announcement, President Obama has called for innovation in college access, including finding ways to ensure students have the information necessary to make the best decisions for their future. The use of APIs can assist in these efforts by making data and information more open and easily accessible.

APIs are sets of software instructions and standards that allow for machine-to-machine communication. ED is suggesting using these processes to build apps and other tools to bring government information and services straight to consumers to help them access government-owned data and participate in government-run processes from more places other than the traditional Internet sources. These APIs could help streamline the flow of information within and between federal agencies, in the private sector, or by students and their families. They could be read-only APIs, which would allow consumers to read material on a Web site or third-party app, or read-write APIs, which would allow consumers to interact with and submit information, allowing students to submit FAFSA forms or enroll in Income-Driven Repayment programs immediately.

One of the main requests in the RFI is for input on ways in which the department could ensure privacy for students and protect their information while encouraging greater, more open use of student data via APIs. Safeguards for students’ personal information must be maintained in order to best protect students’ identities as well as the integrity of federal student aid programs.

The RFI is one aspect of the administration’s education agenda. In August 2013, President Obama announced an education program aimed at increasing college affordability for students and their families. This included making student aid information as well as college value statistics more available and accessible to the public. One of the administration’s first steps to achieving this was hosting the Education Datapalooza in January 2014, where the Department originally announced its interest in the use of APIs in higher education and plans to issue the RFI.

Comments are due on June 2. EDUCAUSE will continue to monitor this process. 

Tags from the EDUCAUSE Library

Tags from the Community

Comments

How does APIs impact access to student aid for those seeking a higher education and has access to student aid been on the decline in recent years?

If this Request  for Information is implemented, how does the privacy of students be excercise when all of their records can easily be accessed?

Close
Close


Annual Conference
September 29–October 2
Register Now!

Events for all Levels and Interests

Whether you're looking for a conference to attend face-to-face to connect with peers, or for an online event for team professional development, see what's upcoming.

Close

Digital Badges
Member recognition effort
Earn yours >

Career Center


Leadership and Management Programs

EDUCAUSE Institute
Project Management

 

 

Jump Start Your Career Growth

Explore EDUCAUSE professional development opportunities that match your career aspirations and desired level of time investment through our interactive online guide.

 

Close
EDUCAUSE organizes its efforts around three IT Focus Areas

 

 

Join These Programs If Your Focus Is

Close

Get on the Higher Ed IT Map

Employees of EDUCAUSE member institutions and organizations are invited to create individual profiles.
 

 

Close

2014 Strategic Priorities

  • Building the Profession
  • IT as a Game Changer
  • Foundations


Learn More >

Uncommon Thinking for the Common Good™

EDUCAUSE is the foremost community of higher education IT leaders and professionals.