Clearinghouse Record - Fall 2008

Document Sample
Clearinghouse Record - Fall 2008 Powered By Docstoc
              T he c leaRinghouse

 SPRING 2009                 703.742.4200

Inside:                         Focus On Security
Client Survey Results
                                The Clearinghouse’s 360° Approach
KACRAO Wins                     Every day, more than 3,300 institutions rely on the                              Operational controls: Multiple levels of information
Award for Electronic            Clearinghouse to perform critical tasks on their behalf,                         security policies, operational procedures and internal
Transcript Exchange             such as enrollment reporting, academic verification,                             controls are used to secure Clearinghouse processes.
                                and enrollment management research. Since its
New Clearinghouse               inception 16 years ago, the Clearinghouse has been                               Technical controls: User identification and
Appointments                    aggressive and proactive in all areas of data and                                authentication controls are deployed across all
                                information security.                                                            Clearinghouse systems. In addition, the
                                                                                                                 Clearinghouse utilizes information security best
Clearinghouse Advisory          “The more pervasive technology becomes in everyday                               practices, such as firewalls, intrusion detection and
Committee Members               business processing, the greater the risks and threats                           prevention, cryptographic technologies, anti-virus
                                all organizations face,” said Clearinghouse president                            software, proxy servers, etc.
Secondary Education             Rick Torres, “From the Clearinghouse’s perspective,
Research Initiative             security requires a 24/7/365 by 360-degree approach.                             Information security: Wide-ranging protective measures
Receives Gates Grant            That’s why we use an integrated strategy that addresses                          are used to safeguard data, including stringent
                                current and emerging threats while providing the                                 password rules, secure file transfer, protected web
                                greatest possible coverage.”                                                     access, and more.
New Data Access
Advisory Committee              Comprehensive Security Program                                                   Disaster recovery and backup: The Clearinghouse’s
                                At the heart of the Clearinghouse’s strategy is a                                business resumption plan includes complete disaster
Research Site Launched          multi-faceted security program designed to stay                                  recovery and data backup/restoration procedures,
                                ahead of the curve, prevent unauthorized access,                                 which are regularly tested and updated.
                                and protect against other threats and hazards.
                                Key elements include:                                                            Additionally, the Clearinghouse ensures that all
                                                                                                                 parties with which it interfaces conduct business using
                                System management and controls: Extensive risk analyses                          high levels of security.
                                of Clearinghouse systems are conducted periodically,
                                including security assessments performed by third-                               Ongoing Investments
                                party security firms. The Clearinghouse’s information                            The Clearinghouse regularly invests in new
                                security plan is regularly reviewed and updated.                                 technologies to ensure its systems keep pace with
                                                                                                                 the latest security capabilities. “We continually
                                                                                                                 enhance our information security measures to better
                Our New Home!                                                                                    protect our systems and data,” said Doug Falk, chief
                                                                                                                 information officer at the Clearinghouse. Additionally,
                                                                                                                 the Clearinghouse recently became the first tenant in
                                                                                                                 a major high tech development in the metropolitan
                                                                                                                 Washington, D.C. area. Our new offices were
                                                                                                                 designed with particular attention to physical security
                                                                                                                 from unauthorized access and also feature state-of-the-
                                                                                                                 art computer facilities.

                                                                                                                 Staff Training & Awareness
                                                                                    Photo by Floyd Wellershaus

                                                                                                                 As important as the technical safeguards established
                                                                                                                 by the Clearinghouse is its staff security awareness
                                                                                                                 and training program. Every employee receives
                                                                                                                 information security training and agrees to comply
                                                                                                                 with Clearinghouse security policies. Additionally,
                                                                                                                 the Clearinghouse’s Information Security Committee,

                In March, the Clearinghouse moved to its new location at                                                                           continued on page 2
                2300 Dulles Station Blvd., Suite 300, Herndon, VA 20171.
                                                                                                                   Services You Need. People You Trust.
Focus On Security
continued from cover

comprised of representatives from its operational units, regularly
reviews internal processes for handling sensitive information and makes
recommendations to reduce risk and improve security.

Working with Industry Leaders
The Clearinghouse’s security focus includes strategic partnerships with
leading industry organizations, such as the inCommon Federation,
Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC), and National
Council of Higher Education Loan Programs (NCHELP).

The Clearinghouse is currently working with inCommon on a pilot to
deliver its services via the Shibboleth platform, beginning with a Student
Self-Service pilot for Stanford University. Shibboleth enables participants
to provide their users with single sign-on access to shared web resources,
eliminating the need to maintain multiple user names and passwords.
More than 100 educational institutions belong to inCommon.

In its work with PESC, the Clearinghouse helps develop new
communications standards, such as the Transcript Request and Response
schema, which enables institutions to use electronic data exchange to
share information more securely. In cooperation with NCHELP, the
Clearinghouse collaborated with the education finance industry to create
the campus-based authentication model used for Meteor, which provides
student loan borrowers and schools with secure online access to financial
aid award data.

Standards-Based Security
Another important security initiative is the Clearinghouse’s adoption of
existing industry standards, such as those from the National Institute of
Standards and Technology (NIST). Its Student Self-Service program,
for example, requires that participants comply with NIST standards for
electronic authentication. This enables the Clearinghouse to provide
options requested by schools that require increased security, such as
real-time student loan information via Meteor. Other examples include
                                                                                        The Clearinghouse’s 360-degree approach to protecting its information and
compliance of its transactional sites, like DegreeVerify, with the Payment
                                                                                        systems includes multiple layers of security to address all types of threats.
                                                     continued on page 4

          Security Reminders for Colleges
                                               n Review Your Clearinghouse Contacts Regularly
                                                 You should review your Clearinghouse contact list regularly during the year and after staff changes to
                                                 ensure your information remains accessible only to the appropriate parties at your school. Your contact
                                                 list is available on the home page of our school secure site.
                                               n Keep Student Blocks & Holds Up-to-Date
                                                 When you report data to the Clearinghouse, make sure you identify students who have FERPA blocks
                                                 or other holds on their records (see our programming and testing guides for instructions). Don’t forget
                                                 to notify us when a hold is removed so the student’s information can be released for verification.
                                               n Actively Refer Verification Requests
                                                 Referring requestors to the Clearinghouse provides a time-stamped audit trail of all verifications. It also
                                                 allows you to control how requests are received and verified: safely via our secure site versus less securely
                                                 by phone or fax in your busy office.

                                               n Download Our Student Computer Safety Tip Sheet (at left)
                                                 Help your students use public computers safely by posting our tip sheet in your office and on campus.
                                                 You can download it from the Resource Center of the Student Look-Up tab on our school secure site.
                                                  To update your contact list or request other assistance, contact

Page 2                                                                                                                       
Rating the Clearinghouse
Survey Results Reveal High Client Satisfaction & New Service Opportunities

Last fall, the Clearinghouse invited its clients, including school,              Respondents included college registrars, financial aid directors, institutional
commercial, and other participants, to take part in its first customer           researchers, representatives at education finance organizations, and
survey. The objective was to learn how well the Clearinghouse is serving         commercial clients. Overall, satisfaction levels were high for all types of
its different constituents and how it can improve its services and support.      users. This was especially true for college and education finance industry
Survey response across the board was excellent, with nearly 2,000                staff who rely on the Clearinghouse to perform key responsibilities, like
respondents providing valuable feedback on how the Clearinghouse can             enrollment reporting or research. Well over 90% of respondents in these
better serve all its users.                                                      groups said they would recommend the Clearinghouse to other users.

                                                                                 “This is validation that our customer-oriented approach is recognized and
                                                                                 appreciated by our participants,” said Clearinghouse president, Rick Torres,
                                                                                 “I’m proud of how well our employees respond to the needs of our users.”

                                                                                 Along with customer support, respondents were asked to rate their
                                                                                 satisfaction with individual services and technical performance, such as
                                                                                 system response times. They also ranked the various tools and resources
                                                                                 the Clearinghouse provides to its users, such as product documentation.
                                                                                 As importantly, respondents provided input on potential new service and
                                                                                 delivery options. As a result of what it learned from survey respondents,
                                                                                 the Clearinghouse is pursuing a number of client support- and technology-
                                                                                 based initiatives.

                                                                                 “While we were very pleased with the overall results, we strive to
                                                                                 continuously improve our service delivery,” continued Torres, “The insight
                                                                                 we gained from the survey responses will help us focus our efforts.” The
                                                                                 Clearinghouse plans to conduct customer surveys periodically.

Kentucky ACRAO Wins Award for Electronic
Transcript Exchange
First Statewide Rollout of Clearinghouse’s Newest Service

For their successful statewide rollout of Electronic Transcript Exchange, the    Receive Electronic Transcripts for Free
Kentucky ACRAO (KACRAO) received the Elbert W. Ockerman State                    All U.S. colleges and high schools are eligible to receive transcripts for
and Regional Professional Activity Award at this year’s annual AACRAO            free via Electronic Transcript Exchange. Colleges that participate in our
meeting. The award recognizes outstanding achievements and activities by         free Transcript Ordering service and high schools that participate in
state and regional associations.                                                 StudentTracker for High Schools can also send electronic transcripts
                                                                                 at no charge.
Kentucky Realizes Multiple Benefits
KACRAO implemented Electronic Transcript Exchange to support their               To learn more (including watching the Electronic
statewide effort to increase retention rates by speeding and simplifying the     Transcript Exchange demo) or sign up, visit
in-state transfer process for students. The service has also yielded time- and
cost-saving benefits by eliminating expenses for postage, envelopes, and
transcript paper and reducing staff processing time. Since the University
of Kentucky and Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC)
completed the pilot in early 2008, nearly 40 Kentucky institutions have
begun participating in Electronic Transcript Exchange.

Said Suzanne McGurk, system registrar for Kentucky Community and
Technical College System (KCTCS), who helped facilitate the pilot for
BCTC, “This initiative has caught the attention not only of AACRAO,
but of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education as an
example of partnership for the benefit of our institutions, the
conservation of resources and, most importantly, improvement
of service to students.”

Page 3                                                                                                                 
New Clearinghouse Appointments
Board of Director Updates
Three long-term members completed their service with the Clearinghouse’s            named assistant vice president of Government Relations. Robert (Bob) M.
board of directors in April: Thomas Babel, corporate director of Student            Haushalter was welcomed as the Clearinghouse’s managing director of
Finance for DeVry Inc. and a board member since 2000; William Mackie,               Education Finance Industry Relations.
Jr., former president and CEO of the South Carolina Student Loan
Corporation and a board member since 2002; and Marianne M. Keler,                   In her new role, Roberta works with Clearinghouse senior management
chair of the Building Hope foundation’s board of directors and a board              to develop strategies to contribute to public policy discussions at various
member since 1993. The Clearinghouse made charitable donations on                   government levels. She also advises the Clearinghouse on applicable legislative
behalf of these board members in recognition and appreciation of their              matters and acts as ombudsmen to the Department of Education. Roberta,
many years of service.                                                              who is an adjunct professor of higher education at Drexel University, has a
                                                                                    BA in International Studies from Muhlenberg College and an MS in Higher
Two new board members were elected during the April meeting: Dr. Donald             Education from Drexel University. She is also pursuing a Doctorate in
Hossler and Dr. Paul Lingenfelter. Dr. Hossler is the executive associate dean      Education at Northeastern University.
at the School of Education at Indiana University Bloomington. A professor
of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, he also serves as the director        As managing director of Education Finance Industry Relations, Bob is
of the Project on Academic Success and coordinator of the Higher Education          responsible for providing continued dedicated support to the education
and Student Affairs graduate programs. Dr. Lingenfelter is the president            finance organizations that participate in the Clearinghouse. Bob has
of the State Higher Education Executive Officers, a national nonprofit              nearly 25 years of experience in the education finance industry and higher
association comprised of the chief executive officers who serve on statewide        education. Most recently, he served as senior vice president of corporate
coordinating boards and governing boards of postsecondary education.                development for Access Group, Inc. Bob has a BA in early childhood and
                                                                                    elementary education and an MS in science education from American
Staff Appointments                                                                  University. He also serves on several boards, including the NCHELP
This spring, the Clearinghouse announced two new staff appointments.                Private Student Loan Committee.
Roberta Hyland, who has served at the Clearinghouse for 12 years, was

Focus On Security
continued from page 2                                                                               The Clearinghouse
Card Industry Data Security Standards used by all major credit                                      Advisory Committee
card issuers and the use of U.S. federal encryptions standards
to validate file exchanges, like electronic transcripts, via the
Clearinghouse secure FTP site.                                                   Christopher (Seth) Allen                 Stanley E. Henderson
                                                                                 Dean of Admission & Financial Aid,       Vice Chancellor, University of
Commitment to Student Privacy                                                    Grinnell College                         Michigan-Dearborn
In addition to the extensive technical and other safeguards it
uses, the Clearinghouse protects student privacy through the                     Susie C. Archer                          Lorraine Kitchner
compliance of all its services with the Family Educational Rights                Asst. Provost for Academic Affairs,      Registrar, Saint Mary’s College
and Privacy Act (FERPA). The Clearinghouse stays abreast of                      Vanderbilt University
                                                                                                                          Suzanne McGurk
important regulatory changes to ensure continued compliance.                     Thomas C. Black                          System Registrar, KCTCS
In response to 2009 FERPA revisions, for example, the                            University Registrar,
Clearinghouse revised its school participation agreement to clearly              Stanford University                      Kenneth Servis
state the respective roles of the institution and the Clearinghouse                                                       Dean of Academic Records/
and reinforce the control the institution must maintain. The new                 Douglas K. Burgess, Ph.D.                Registrar, USC
agreement further emphasizes the importance of information                       University Registrar,
security pertaining to confidential student records.                             University of Cincinnati                 Dr. Jeffery Seybert
                                                                                                                          Dir. of Research, Eval. &
Incorporating User Feedback                                                      Joy Chambers                             Instructional Dev., Johnson Co.
                                                                                 Interim Dean Student Support/            Community College
Finally, the Clearinghouse actively solicits input from its
                                                                                 Director, Cuesta College-
participants to ensure it continues to address its users’ security                                                        Beth Tedrow
                                                                                 San Luis Obispo
concerns. The Clearinghouse Advisory Committee provides                                                                   Dean of Student Services, Garden
guidance on FERPA and student privacy issues, along with input                   Herbert R. Chereck                       City Community College
on service and delivery offerings. Later this year, the Clearinghouse            University Registrar,
is establishing a Data Access Advisory Committee (DAAC) to                                                                Ernestine Whiting
                                                                                 University of Oregon
                                                                                                                          National Director of Financial Aid,
address wide-ranging issues related to its data resources, including
information security. Additionally, the Clearinghouse is using                   Robert Doolos                            Walden University
input collected from its recent client surveys to enhance its                    University Registrar, Louisiana State
                                                                                                                          David S. Yeh (Chairman)
technical capabilities. (For more on the Clearinghouse surveys and               Univ.-Baton Rouge
                                                                                                                          AVP & University Registrar,
the DAAC, see the articles on page 3 and 5, respectively.)                                                                Cornell University

“The Clearinghouse has always taken its role as a guardian of its                                To see a list of past members, visit
participants’ information very seriously,” added Torres, “As we face     
new challenges and opportunities together, it will continue to be
our first priority.”

Page 4                                                                                                                    
Clearinghouse’s Secondary Education Research
Initiative Receives Major Grant
State Pilot Selection Underway
Earlier this year, the Clearinghouse received a $2.9 million grant from the    institutions with access to more robust data via its StudentTracker
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to develop the first national           educational research service.
secondary education research and reporting system. When completed, the
project, called the Secondary Education Research Initiative, will provide      Another key element is expanding the coverage of the additional data
participating high schools across all 50 states with reliable information on   elements (i.e., class level, current major, etc.). This will improve high school
their graduates’ college access and success rates.                             student matching, provide a more complete profile of a high school’s college
                                                                               entrance rates, and enable comparisons between high school systems.
     “The Clearinghouse will play a vital role in … strengthening              Institutions with a Datatel student information system (SIS) can extract the
      the link between secondary and postsecondary institutions                additional data elements and include them as part of their Clearinghouse
               to support greater student achievement.”                        enrollment reporting. The Clearinghouse is working with other SIS
                                                                               providers to make the additional data reporting option available in their
“Most high schools and school districts have no way of tracking their          systems. Institutions can also contact their SIS providers directly to request
students from graduation through college enrollment and completion,”           the additional data reporting capability.
said Vicki L. Phillips, director of education at the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation. “The Clearinghouse will play a vital role in closing this data             “… an incredible opportunity for the Clearinghouse and
gap, providing more clarity around student outcomes and strengthening                   our participating institutions to contribute to a greater
the link between secondary and postsecondary institutions to support                     understanding of the country’s educational efforts.”
greater student achievement.”
                                                                               “The Secondary Education Research Initiative represents an incredible
Building a National Secondary Reporting System                                 opportunity for the Clearinghouse and our participating institutions
As part of the initiative, the Clearinghouse is planning to evolve the         to contribute to a greater understanding of the country’s educational
current platform of its StudentTracker for High Schools service, which is      efforts,” according to Clearinghouse president Rick Torres, “Most
already used by more than 500 districts. The service’s data and reporting      importantly, by providing an accurate and consistent way to measure
capabilities will be greatly expanded to meet the complex requirements         student achievement, we enable educators to better prepare the nation’s
of a secondary data collection and reporting system with the capacity to       students to compete and succeed.”
service all 50 states.
                                                                               Postsecondary institutions can help achieve 100% enrollment and
Over the next 24 months, the Clearinghouse will partner with a small           degree data levels by:
number of states to conduct data matching tests, redesign reports, develop
new analysis tools, and obtain user feedback. Final selection of the pilot          1. Participating in the Clearinghouse’s free Core student
states is underway.                                                                    loan enrollment reporting service

Implementation of the national-level system is expected to take three to            2. Reporting additional data elements as part of their Core
five years. Improvements to the existing StudentTracker for High Schools               enrollment data submission, AND
service are expected to begin before the end of the year.                           3. Participating in the Clearinghouse’s free degree
                                                                                       verification service, DegreeVerify.
How Colleges Can Help High Schools
An important part of the initiative is obtaining full national coverage        Participating institutions are also eligible to receive StudentTracker for
of postsecondary enrollment and degree data. Not only will this                50% off or for free. For more information or to sign up for any
enable educators to close the information gap between secondary and            of these services, contact your Clearinghouse regional director or
postsecondary education, it will provide all participating Clearinghouse

Data Access Advisory Committee to Be Established
One of the most important new initiatives at the Clearinghouse is the          DAAC members will assist the Clearinghouse in evaluating the many
establishment of a Data Access Advisory Committee (DAAC). The                  research requests it receives from educational institutions and organizations
committee is being formed in response to the Clearinghouse’s rapidly           that are not addressed by its standard StudentTracker service. The
expanding role as a provider of nationwide postsecondary enrollment and        committee will also recommend national benchmarking studies in which
degree information to educational researchers.                                 they believe the Clearinghouse should participate. Finally, they will make
                                                                               recommendations regarding the research strategies and methods employed
According to committee chair Jeff Tanner, vice president of Higher             by the Clearinghouse in its research projects.
Education Development at the Clearinghouse, “The committee will
serve as an important link to real-world applications of our information       Committee members, who are expected to be announced later this year,
by colleges and educational organizations. It will also help us keep pace      will be professionals from high schools and colleges around the country
with important trends and provide us with valuable feedback on ways to         who have extensive experience in managing student databases, research,
improve our research-based services.”                                          and risk management.

Page 5                                                                                                                
Clearinghouse Launches New Research Site
The Clearinghouse has created a
Web site for StudentTracker users
and educational researchers. Our
new Research Services site is a
one-stop resource for accessing
many postsecondary research tools,
including StudentTracker guides
and FAQs, sample reports,
SAS/SPSS query code, and more.

You’ll also find research reports from
the Clearinghouse and StudentTracker
case studies from institutional
researchers around the country. We
invite you to read our most recent
studies on Concurrent Enrollment
and Time to Degree, under the
Postsecondary Research section.

Check out our new Research Services site at

                         Receive Electronic Transcripts for Free!
                         All Clearinghouse schools are eligible to receive electronic transcripts at no charge through our Electronic Transcript
         Transcript      Exchange service. To learn more, watch our demo, or sign up, visit

        T he c leaRinghouse

        PERMIT # 9                                                                               Please note our new address.
       US POSTAGE                                                      2300 Dulles Station Blvd., Suite 300, Herndon, VA 20171
       FIRST CLASS                                                     NATIONAL STUDENT CLEARINGHOUSE ®