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  1. What is the Core Data Service?
    The EDUCAUSE Core Data Service (CDS) is a benchmarking service used by colleges and universities since 2002 to inform their IT strategic planning and management. The service comprises three parts: data collection via an annual survey, data access via a self-service reporting tool, and reports and analyses that summarize and analyze the submitted data.
  2. I need to learn more about CDS. What are my options?
    See the About CDS web page for a general overview, including examples of how participating institutions use CDS data. The FAQ on this page provide specific answers about participation. Subscribe to the CDS Update newsletter for monthly news.
  3. How can I talk with other institutions about CDS?
  4. Who is eligible for CDS?
    Any higher education institution can participate in CDS. View eligible institutions. If your institution is not listed and you’d like to participate, please contact us.
  5. I need to talk to EDUCAUSE about CDS. Whom should I contact?
    Contact us at or 303-449-4430.


  1. What are the CDS roles for staff at participating institutions? 
    • Primary Representative at an eligible institution or system office—Authorized by default to input survey data (Author), to view peer data for modules the institution has completed (Reviewer), and to assign CDS authorities (Manager). The EDUCAUSE primary representative or designated CDS manager must accept the Appropriate Use Policy (AUP) on behalf of the institution or system office before data entry or access can begin.
    • Manager—Authorized to assign CDS roles. The Primary Representative can delegate Manager responsibility to another staff member, who in turn can authorize Authors and Reviewers. The EDUCAUSE primary representative or designated CDS manager must accept the Appropriate Use Policy (AUP) on behalf of the institution or system office before data entry can begin.
    • Author—Authorized to input survey data for the specified module(s). The Primary Representative retains Author responsibility for any module not delegated to another Author.
    • Reviewer—Authorized to view peer data for modules the institution has completed. The Primary Representative and Manager are automatically Reviewers. Authors do not automatically have Reviewer access. A CDS Administrator must designate an Author to also be a Reviewer.

Accessing Data

  1. What are my CDS data access options?
    If your institution completed the CDS 2015 survey, you can access data using CDS Reporting. The link to CDS Reporting is located on the Access Data page.

    CDS Reporting is a self-service tool enabling institutions that completed the CDS survey to create custom peer groups, view data in graphs and tables, download detailed reports, and look up responses to individual questions. CDS Reporting comes to you via a portal powered by SAS Business Intelligence (BI) tools. CDS Reporting requires neither experience with nor local access to SAS software.

    CDS 2011-2015 data can be downloaded into a spreadsheet using the Data Download Tab within CDS Reporting. You can also include data from IPEDS (institution-level characteristics, financial, and FTE data by institution) and CUPA-HR (salary estimates by IT position and Carnegie Classification) in your download.
  2. How do I use CDS Reporting?
    For instructions on how to use CDS Reporting, please review the User Guide.
  3. What are the CDS Core Metrics?
    CDS Core Metrics (formerly "comparative ratio analyses") are the most frequently used metrics for IT strategic management and planning. The core metrics, derived from multiple IPEDS and/or CDS questions, are valuable indicators of IT operational efficiency. CDS participants may access these within CDS Reporting on the Core Metrics tab.
  4. I'm trying to access data but it says the AUP must be accepted for my institution. What should I do?
    Review the AUP to understand our expectations for use of CDS data and click the accept button to proceed to CDS Reporting.
  5. What data are available in CDS Reporting?
    2015 data rollout began November 20, 2015 with release of Core Metrics and Module 1 data. Data from Modules 2 - 8 will be released on a module-by-module basis. Please refer to your CDS Update newsletter for current status. 2013, 2014, and 2015 data are available in CDS Reporting via dashboards and detailed reports. Data from FY 2005-2015 are available in CDS Reporting for download only. Authorized individuals at participating institutions may access data only for modules completed by their institution in 2015. 
  6. Who can access data in CDS Reporting?
    Only institutions that completed the 2015 survey have access to CDS Reporting. At each participating institution, only CDS administrators (EDUCAUSE primary representatives and CDS managers) and individuals who have been designated the role of reviewer may access data. To be assigned as a reviewer, an individual must have an EDUCAUSE website profile.
  7. My institution completed CDS in the past. I want to view our old data. How do I do that without access to CDS Reporting?
    If you choose not to complete the current survey to regain access to CDS Reporting, contact us to request your old data in a spreadsheet.
  8. I submitted the 2015 survey. When can I access 2015 data?
    Institutions that completed the 2015 survey have access to CDS Reporting now; data will be rolled out on a module-by-module basis through early 2016. Institutions submitting 2015 data after the November 6 survey deadline will be able to access data in CDS Reporting approximately one week after their submittal date.
  9. How do I give a colleague on my campus access to the data?
    The Core Data Administrators (EDUCAUSE Primary Representative and Core Data Manager) for your institution may assign Reviewer access on the CDS Roles page. Individuals with Author status must also be assigned Reviewer status to access data in CDS Reporting.
  10. What is a peer group?
    A peer group is a subset of institutions used in a custom report to download data only for the selected institutions. The system includes numerous prebuilt peer groups, including Carnegie Classifications, components of multi-campus systems, and members of certain consortia. You may also create your own custom peer groups based on institutional characteristics or by selecting specific institutions; these peer groups can also be shared with other Reviewers from your institution.
  11. Do I need to create new peer groups each year?
    Your peer groups will carry over each year. However, we encourage you to review your peer groups each year to ensure that all institutions you wish to compare to are included. If an institution does not participate one year, they will remain in the peer group but without data for that year.
  12. When I download the data to a spreadsheet, I get a Microsoft Excel warning. Is it safe to open the file? Is this a bug you can fix?
    Yes, it is safe to open. When you get the warning message, click Yes, and the file will open and operate as a regular Excel file. This is a SAS software issue, which we cannot fix at this time.
  13. What is Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)?
    IPEDS is the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. It is a system of interrelated surveys conducted annually by the U.S. Department’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). IPEDS gathers information from every college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs. The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, requires that institutions that participate in federal student aid programs report data on enrollments, program completions, graduation rates, faculty and staff, finances, institutional prices, and student financial aid. These data are made available to students and parents through the College Navigator college search Web site and to researchers and others through the IPEDS Data Center.
  14. What IPEDS data is included in Core Data?
    EDUCAUSE is providing a subset of IPEDS data for the convenience of Core Data participants, including geographic region, sector, level, degree offerings, institutional category, revenues, expenses, net assets, endowment assets, student FTE/headcount, faculty FTE/headcount, and more. Because there is a delay in the public release of IPEDS data, we are not always able to provide data for the same time period as specified in the Core Data survey.
  15. What is College & University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR)?
    CUPA-HR is the association for higher education human resources professionals. EDUCAUSE has forged a partnership with CUPA-HR enabling EDUCAUSE Core Data participants to access aggregated IT compensation data from the CUPA-HR 2014 Administrative and Mid-level salary surveys.

Adding Data

  1. When will 2015 data collection begin and end?
    The 2015 survey opened on July 14 and was scheduled to close October 16. The survey deadline was extended to November 6. Institutions that were granted survey extensions must submit their data by December 15, 2015.
  2. How should I prepare for completing the survey?
    Primary representatives and CDS managers should begin with the Survey Preparation Checklist.
  3. Which modules do I need to complete to gain access to data in CDS Reporting?
    To gain access to CDS Reporting your institution must complete Module 1 (the only required module). You will gain access to data in the optional modules only if you complete those modules.
  4. Who can authorize me or a colleague on my campus to enter survey data?
    The Core Data Administrators (EDUCAUSE Primary Representative and Core Data Manager) for your institution may assign access to enter data. Your Administrators are listed on the CDS Roles page (you must be logged in to the EDUCAUSE website to view roles).
  5. I am a Core Data Administrator for my institution. How do I authorize a colleague on my campus to enter survey data?
    On the Add Data to CDS page, locate the module you wish to assign, and click the "Reassign Authorship" link. If you do not find the person you are looking for in the assignment list, the person must create an EDUCAUSE profile before authorship can be assigned to them.
  6. I'm trying to complete the survey but it says the AUP must be accepted for my institution. What should I do?
    One of the CDS Administrators for your institution must accept the Appropriate Use Policy (AUP) on behalf of the institution before data entry can begin. To do this, they must visit the Add Data to CDS page and follow the instructions to accept the AUP.
  7. Is there a set of definitions I should refer to while completing a module?
    You can view definitions by hovering over underlined key terms within the online survey. You can also view all terms at once in the Glossary. You may also find the CDS IT domain definitions useful.
  8. What Fiscal Year (FY) data should be entered into the survey?
    For the purposes of the 2015 survey, prior fiscal year is defined as the most recent fiscal year ending before July 1, 2015.
  9. I completed the survey in the past. Will my data be preloaded in the 2015 survey?
    Yes. If you completed the survey in 2013 or 2014, your responses will preload in the 2015 survey. However, past responses will preload only in questions that were not changed for 2015. If you open a 2015 module that you completed in the past and do not see responses in certain questions, it is because those questions are either new or updated for this year’s survey.

    Module 8 Data Preloading Issue: If you completed Module 8 last year, your data for questions 3a-c will not preload in the 2015 survey. This is a known bug that we are unable to fix, and we apologize for the inconvenience. To enable you to view your 2014 responses, we offer two workarounds. You can download data using CDS Reporting, or contact us at to request the data for these questions.
  10. Did the survey change for 2015?
    Yes. You can view details on 2015 survey changes in the CDS 2015 Question Overview. Member input continues to drive changes that improve CDS. IT domain definitions and glossary terms were revised by the Data Quality Working Group. Findings from an EDUCAUSE/NACUBO Working Group exploring the costs of distributed IT have also been integrated in 2015.
  11. Are there any special system requirements for completing the survey?
    Yes, you must enable Javascript in your browser.
  12. I completed the survey in the past. How can I view previously submitted versions of the survey?
    An institution's CDS administrators (EDUCAUSE primary representative and CDS manager) and assigned module authors have permission to view data. While logged in, go to the Add Data tab on the CDS website. In each module’s action box, you'll be able to see a link for each survey module you've completed since 2013.
  13. I'm adding data in a module, and I don't see a "Next" button to advance the survey. How do I go to the next page?
    This is a known issue specific to Internet Explorer. If you use IE, you may not see the "Next" button in the survey application. You can use the Table of Contents to navigate instead, or you may wish to use another browser client to work in the survey.
  14. I've started completing a module but I need to come back and finish it later. How do I save my progress?
    If the module has not yet been submitted, your responses are automatically saved. You can stop and start whenever you like.
  15. How do I change responses in a submitted module?
    There are a number of steps you must take to save changes to a previously submitted module. Your changes will only be saved if you follow these steps sequentially without closing your browser:
    • On the Add Data to CDS page, click the "update your submitted response" link for the module in question.
    • Make your changes.
    • Using the survey table of contents, go back to the beginning of the module.
    • Click Next on each page of the module.
    • When you see the "Module Completion Notice" message, your resubmission is complete.
  16. I just submitted a module but the dashboard doesn't show the module as submitted. Why?
    Module status is refreshed on a regular interval. Please contact us at if your module status has not updated within four hours.
  17. If I start a module and then realize I don't want to submit it, what should I do?
    It's fine to leave the module incomplete. Your responses will only be counted if the module is submitted.
  18. Can I print my submitted modules?
    Yes. Once your module shows up as complete on the Add Data to CDS page, a "View 2015 modules (with responses)" link will appear in the set of actions for that module. This link will allow you to view the submitted responses for that module. You may also print the final page you see after submitting each module. If you completed CDS 2014, you will also see the "View 2014 modules (with responses)" link.
  19. How can I encourage other campuses to participate?
    "Invite a colleague" functionality is embedded in the CDS website. Primary Representatives and CDS managers may invite colleagues to participate by going to the Add Data to CDS page and selecting the "View Participants" button. Any non-participating institutions will have an "Invite" link; click the link to customize and send the invitation message.