mental Loans for Students (SLS), PLUS and Consolidation loans, both through traditional lenders and through the Federal Direct Lending Program.

More than 3,300 institutions and hundreds of school districts participate in the Clearinghouse, representing 92 percent of total U.S. college enrollment. It was originally created to provide lending organizations with enrollment verifications and deferments of financial aid students. Over time, it expanded to verify degrees of graduates to employers, background search firms, and recruiters. Other data users include federal government agencies, student health insurance providers, student credit issuers and student loan providers. The Clearinghouse also allows students who transfer from one participating school to another to continue their in-school deferment status without inherent delays. Participating institutions can send files of students of interest to the database and receive appended information containing number of schools and colleges attended, dates of enrollment and degree (if any) earned. The student tracker tool follows students across colleges/universities and across states. The Clearinghouse helps an institution to know about the educational background of currently enrolled students, educational pathways of drop-outs and prospective students who did not enroll, and also postbaccalaureate pathways of graduates. Even though it is a comprehensive database following most students over time, the number of variables collected is very limited. There is no information on college experiences, jobs or internships during college education, expectations, and plans for future, etc.

Unemployment Insurance Wage Record Data30

State Employment Security Agencies (SESA) collect employment and earning reports from employers on a quarterly basis. The data is collected by these state agencies to aid the process of administering the nationwide system of unemployment compensation. SESA uses the information to determine the tax liability of employers for unemployment compensation and verification purposes. Even though wage record data is collected by state agencies, there is commonality across states. The common factors are social security numbers of all employees in the state who are covered by unemployment insurance, their quarterly earnings, the standard industrial code, business name and address of employer. The employment and earnings data cover around 90 percent of the working population.


30U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Wage Record Information Systems, OTA-BP-HER-127 (Washington, DC, May 1994).

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