Funding: Data Linkages Expressions of Interest

Improving transfer system data reporting is key to the development of a more robust and seamless transfer system. There are important opportunities to track transfer student outcomes through data linkages. Over the next three years, ONCAT is committed to working with our partners to improve transfer system data reporting across Ontario colleges, universities, and Indigenous Institutes. This year, ONCAT has identified several data linkage opportunities that will support greater understanding of transfer student outcomes and experiences. 
 
Institutions that participate in data linkage projects will receive:
 
  • Funding to i) support the staff time required for in-house data clean-up, linkages, and analysis, and other project related activities (e.g., REB applications) and ii) the creation of data linkages by Statistics Canada.
  • Learning Forums: Institutions selected will participate in 2 to 3 meetings to share approaches, learning, and recommendations.
ONCAT will either perform (or fund) the analysis of transfer-related topics using the custom linkages produced through this pilot. Reports from these analyses will, in turn, be provided back to the participating institutions.
 
 

Potential Data Linkage Types

Institutions can apply for financial support to perform data linkages, such as those outlined below:
 
  • College Graduate Satisfaction Survey/PSIS Linkage. This strategy would support Ontario colleges that wish to link graduate survey data (2013–2019) and other related administrative student data (e.g., demographics, GPA, etc.) to the Statistics Canada’s Postsecondary Student Information Systems (PSIS) dataset. Such linkages can be used to perform analysis of college graduates’ long-term educational and labour market trajectories.
Background
 
The College Graduate Satisfaction Survey (GSS) has been used extensively to study transfer activity among Ontario college graduates (Decock, et al., 2011; Kerr, McCloy, & Liu, 2010; McCloy, Steffler, &Decock, 2016; McCloy, Steffler&Decock, 2017). Such research has been useful in identifying many of the academic and demographic precursors of transfer. However, though useful, the GSS has several important limitations. Survey participants are asked to report on their enrollment status only six months after graduating. This time window is not sufficient to capture transfers that may play out over longer timespans (after six months). In addition, the GSS does not tell us anything about the academic outcomes of college graduates that do transfer.
Through this pilot, ONCAT is recruiting a group of 5–6 Ontario colleges that wish to link their KPI survey data (2013–2019) and other related administrative student data (e.g., demographics, GPA, etc.) to the Postsecondary Student Information Systems (PSIS) dataset housed within Statistics Canada Research Data Centres (RDC).1 The resulting linkage will allow us to follow college graduates for a longer period, and examine various topics, including:
1) What percentage of college graduates enroll in further education after the six-month mark, not captured by the graduate survey?
2) What factors predict immediate as opposed to delayed transfer transitions?
3) What factors predict the academic success of college graduates after they transfer?
4) What are the income profiles of transfers vs. those college graduates who never complete further education?
ONCAT will both commission the data linkage costs as well as fund a research team to analyze the resulting data linkage within Statistics Canada’s RDCs.
 
Qualifications
 
Applicants should have demonstrated experience working within Statistics Canada’s Research Data Centres (RDCs). Ideally, they will have previous experience working directly with linked PSIS files. This experience should be evidenced by a record of accomplishment of peer-reviewed articles or policy reports.
 
 

1 For an understanding of the sort of administrative data we are interested in, please see McCloy et al. (2015, pg. 9) or McCloy et al. (2016, p. 12).
  • NSSE/PSIS Linkage. The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is commonly used across the university sector to evaluate students’ first-year experiences and outcomes. Through this pilot, ONCAT will support a group of Ontario institutions that participate in the NSSE to link their NSSE data to Statistics Canada’s Postsecondary Student Information Systems (PSIS). Such data could be used to explore the impact of student engagement on transfer.
Background
The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is commonly used across the university sector to evaluate students’ first-year experiences and outcomes. There is preliminary evidence that NSSE metrics are correlated with important education outcomes (Pascarella, Seifert, & Blaich, 2010), and that transfer students score relatively lower on various NSSE engagement metrics (Ghusson, 2016; Ishanti & McKitrick, 2010; Kuh, 2003). While several researchers have used the NSSE to examine retention rates, we are not aware of any previous efforts in Ontario to examine their impact on “transfer out” behaviour—which refers to the likelihood that students will leave one institution to re-enroll at another. This is mainly due to the inability of Ontario colleges and universities to track student re-enrollment at other institutions.
Through this pilot, ONCAT is recruiting an initial group of 5–6 Ontario institutions that participated in the NSSE (at any point from 2011 to 2017) to link their student-level NSSE data to the Postsecondary Student Information Systems (PSIS) dataset housed by Statistics Canada. The latter will allow us to follow students across time and examine whether NSSE metrics predict transfer-out behaviour within Ontario PSE. ONCAT will be funding:
  1. the linkage of NSSE and PSIS datasets,
  2. analysis of the linked data within the Statistics Canada Research Data Centres (RDCs), and
  3. the production of institution-specific reports for each of the pilot participants.
Qualifications
Applicants should have experience working within Statistics Canada’s Research Data Centres (RDCs). Ideally, they will have previous experience working directly with PSIS. This experience should be evidenced by a track record of peer-reviewed articles or policy reports.
  • Other custom linkages between administrative records held at Ontario PSEs and datasets in Statistics Canada’s ELMLP that could be used for transfer-related research.
     

Project Deliverables

Participants in this pilot will prepare institutional data sets of various types for linkage to Statistics Canada datasets.

 

Funding

Grants up to $30,000 will be available to support staff time to perform data clean up and other project activities, such as the writing of institutional research ethics board applications.

 

Eligibility

Publicly assisted postsecondary institutions in Ontario (Colleges, Universities and Indigenous Institutes) are eligible to apply.

 

How to Apply


Reports and Check-ins

ONCAT is committed to learning with its partners and values open and ongoing communication. If you are successful in receiving a grant, the following check-ins and reporting are required:

  • An interim update and financial report.
  • Check-ins on the project as needed (via email and/or in person).
  • A final report and detailed financial statement.
  • Presentations (if needed) during knowledge mobilization events.
     

ONCAT Project Budget Guidelines

Please refer to the following guidelines when developing your budget.

Personnel
  • Includes salaries, honoraria, and stipends, specified by rate and time.
  • In cases where a faculty member’s time on the project will affect workload, and/or a teaching release is required to provide backfill for the faculty member or academic administrator involved in this project, ONCAT will fund the hiring of a part-time instructor at the college/university/Indigenous institute at the institution’s per semester rate. Please be clear in the workplan and ‘core team’ sections of your application of the anticipated time commitment of each person, especially where support for backfill is being requested.
  • Senior academic administration (decanal or above) and full-time administration with responsibilities including academic partnerships, program development, and/or transfer credit should be considered in-kind contributions. 
Project Costs
  • Includes direct costs for materials and supplies related to this project.
  • ONCAT will not pay for permanent fixtures (for example: laptops, computers, permanent software purchases, and so forth). ONCAT will pay for costs specifically and solely related to the project, such as temporary software licenses (i.e., fluid survey). 
Travel and Accommodation
  • If applicable, this includes any travel and accommodations necessary to conducting project activities. Please be clear in the workplan where travel is needed and include in the budget a breakdown of number of trips and duration. Use of teleconferencing or other cost-effective means to reduce travel-related costs are highly encouraged.
  • For travel-related expenses, ONCAT abides by the Government of Ontario Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive. Please see the following link: https://dr6j45jk9xcmk.cloudfront.net/documents/5019/ontario-travel-directive-effective-january-1.pdf 
Overhead/Administration
  • This is generally calculated at no more than 20% of the request for funding to ONCAT and is intended to cover activities such as overall project administration by the project lead institution, use of space and resources, and so forth. 
Ineligible Expenses
  • ONCAT will not duplicate any funding received from the Credit Transfer Innovation Grant. If you have sought and received funding through the CTIG for this project or any positions requested for funding, this project will be deemed ineligible for funding. Please note: ONCAT may request revisions to project budgets subject to CTIG funding decisions.
  • ONCAT will not cover expenses related to academic program or transfer pathway delivery.
  • For applications that include an online component, the online development will not be eligible for ONCAT funding and will be at the expense of the institution(s). Please refer to eCampusOntario for possible support.
  • ONCAT will not cover expenses not directly and clearly related to the project activities and goals as outlined in the application and workplan.