> Account Maintenance

How do I obtain a web ID?

The user administrator for your StudentTracker for High Schools account can add users to the contact list and assign Web IDs. Whenever a new Web ID is created, the username and temporary password is emailed to the user.

How do I log onto the Clearinghouse secure site?

Go to studentclearinghouse.org, select User Login, and enter your Web ID and password. If you need to reset your password, click the “Forgot your User ID or Password” link or ask your user administrator to reset your password.

How do I submit a test file via the Clearinghouse secure site?

Log on to studentclearinghouse.org and select “Submit a Test File” in the “Submissions” box. You can upload a file with a maximum of 1,000 records in order to view and correct potential formatting errors.

I am a user administrator, how do I add or remove users?

See “View and Manage Users.”

What is my account code (to enter in column B of the file’s header row)?

Your account code is on the Account Reference Sheet provided during implementation. You can also log in and view it. It is the eight-digit account code displayed as the Service Agreement Number.

> FTP Account Login

How do I log onto the FTP account used to upload files?

Go to studentclearinghouse.org, select FTP Login, and enter your user name and password. If you do not know your password, click “Request a Password Change.” REMINDER: Only users with the FTP role assigned to their Clearinghouse profile can request an FTP password reset. Because FTP account contacts share a password, you must make the other contacts on your FTP account aware of the new password, if you change it.

How long do reports stay in my FTP account?

Reports stay in the “Receive” folder for 90 days and the “Receive Archive” folder for 90 days.

> Graduates File

How do I format a Graduates file?

  • The Graduates file must contain header, detail and trailer rows.
  • Each section has required fields.
  • All dates must be in YYYYMMDD format and file must be saved in text (tab delimited) format.

For full formatting instructions, see “Submit a Graduates File.”

When is the best time to submit my Graduates file?

The best time to submit your file is after spring graduation. The latest graduation date that can be entered in a file in order for the student to be included in a specific class is August 31 (e.g., for the class of 2018, it would be all students who graduated between September 1, 2017, and August 31, 2018).

We recommend you submit your file before the end of September or, at the latest, early October, so your information is stored prior to the annual mid-November run.

How do I know which graduates have been submitted?

Log on to studentclearinghouse.org and select “View Diploma Record History” in the Account box. The number of records for each class loaded into the Clearinghouse database will be displayed.

How long do you keep information on my graduates?

All student graduate information received via Graduates files are stored in the Clearinghouse database, unless we are instructed to remove it. StudentTracker for High Schools reports include a maximum of eight years’ worth of data. When a new class is submitted and at least eight years of data are stored, then the oldest class is removed. For example, if the classes of 2010-2017 are stored and the class of 2018 is submitted; the class of 2010 is removed and the classes of 2011-2018 are reported.

> File Processing

I uploaded a Graduates file. How long will it take to process and when will I receive my reports?

Our typical turnaround time for creating reports is three to five business days after we receive your file(s). This timeframe can change if the file contains formatting errors, your account is inactive, or we are experiencing higher than normal file volume. If you have an urgent need for the reports, please email us at studenttracker@studentclearinghouse.org and ask if we can expedite your request (make sure you include your account number). If there are errors/issues preventing the file from being processed, we will reach out to the contacts on your FTP. When your reports are ready, your FTP account contacts will receive an email.

I would like to update the records I previously sent in order to add more complete data or correct errors. How can previous records be replaced?

To request data modifications, such as replacing or removing information, please email studenttracker@studentclearinghouse.org and put the following information in the subject line:

  • StudentTracker File Processing
  • Your account number
  • Specific request (i.e., which cohort you want to resend or remove)

For example, if you identify an error with the date of births for your 2015 graduating class, you should notify us that you are resending the 2015 class intentionally. We will permanently delete the previous 2015 records and store the new incoming 2015 file.

> Effective Dates

What data is used to match high school graduates to postsecondary outcomes?

StudentTracker for High Schools matches high school graduates to their postsecondary enrollment and degree outcomes. The National Student Clearinghouse accomplishes the match by relying on two datasets:

  • High school diploma data. High schools generally submit their graduates’ data between May and September each year.
  • College and university enrollment and degree data. College and universities submit their data three to four times per term.

The difference in data submission cycles between high schools and colleges and universities means there is no clearly defined time when the Clearinghouse has all postsecondary data for any given period (e.g., fall terms).

What are effective dates?

Effective dates are “snapshots” of the postsecondary enrollment and degree data against which all StudentTracker for High Schools queries are run.

There are three effective dates per year:

  1. Mid-late April
  2. Mid-August
  3. Mid-late November

All StudentTracker for High Schools queries are associated with an effective date. StudentTracker for High Schools queries are always queried against the previous or most recent effective date. A Graduates or Request file submitted on August 1st would be queried against the previous April effective date. A Graduates or Request file submitted on September 1st would be queried against the previous August 15th effective date.

How do effective dates differ? Is there a “most important” effective date?

For the Clearinghouse purposes, there is no significance to any one effective date. However, most schools are interested in finding out the college enrollment rates of their recent graduates as soon as possible. For this reason, the November effective date is the most anticipated one followed by the April effective date, and the August effective date.

  1. November Effective Date
    The November effective date is considered the primary effective date because it occurs during the first fall enrollment period. The first fall enrollment is defined as any postsecondary enrollment that occurs between August 1 and October 31, after your most recent class of graduating seniors. It is the first opportunity for the Clearinghouse to report freshmen enrollment.
  2. April Effective Date
    The April effective date is the first opportunity for the Clearinghouse to report your last graduating class enrollments, outside of the first fall after graduation.
  3. The Mid-August Effective Date
    The mid-August effective date updates enrollments that occur later in the first year after high school, and which may contain degrees awarded (for earlier cohorts) in May or June. The August 15 effective date includes the most recent postsecondary enrollment and degree data submitted to cover spring enrollment and degrees as well as summer term enrollment.

Why have effective dates?

Effective dates ensure your StudentTracker for High Schools reports reflect the most comprehensive enrollment and degree data provided by the colleges and universities for a given period. They also ensure that all secondary education institutions are matched against the same set of postsecondary data.

The Clearinghouse uses a sophisticated algorithm to track postsecondary data coverage. The effective date establishes the following:

  • At least 47 of 50 states have reached at least 98 percent of active postsecondary institutions reported*


  • No state has less than 95 percent of active postsecondary institutions reported*

The effective date also ensures all high schools are matched against the same set of college and university data, establishing a framework within which rigorous statistical research can be organized.

*In certain rare cases, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center may set the effective date without one or both above conditions being met. This is rarely done and usually exercised in situations where a significant proportion of the state’s active postsecondary institutions may be delayed in reporting data to the Clearinghouse (e.g., following a natural disaster, such as a hurricane).

> Matching

Why are individual students missing from the Student Detail Report?

Students may not be reported through StudentTracker® for a number of reasons. The most common reason why an individual student may not be reported in the Student Detail Report is because he or she blocked one or more of their records from a college or university they attended. If the student places a block against reporting their information to the Clearinghouse, then the Clearinghouse is obligated by law to withhold the information until the student elects to unblock it. The Clearinghouse is also prohibited from confirming if a student record has been removed due to a FERPA block.

Blocked student records will be included in the tables, charts and graphs where student anonymity is maintained (e.g., “Percent of Students Enrolled in College the Fall Immediately after High School”).

Other reasons individual student records may be unreported are:

  • Student’s graduation date falls after August 15th of the calendar year
  • College or university where the student is enrolled does not report data to the Clearinghouse (e.g., all U.S. service academies)
  • College or university where the student is enrolled missed the submission deadline for their enrollment information to be included in your reports. In this case, the student will be present the next time the data is refreshed, called an Effective Date.
  • Critical information used to match students may be missing altogether or reported differently between the college/university and the high school and, therefore, a match cannot be determined

What is the StudentTracker® for High Schools matching algorithm and how does it work?

StudentTracker for High Schools uses a proprietary algorithm to match students across all of their postsecondary enrollments. The algorithm utilizes a hierarchy for reviewing and matching data points that allows it to overcome imperfect data submissions. Examples of imperfect data include a college or university hyphenating the student’s last name (Smith-Richards) and a high school requesting information for a student without the hyphen (Smith Richards). Another common example is family surnames versus married surnames (Chris Smith vs. Chris Smith-Richards or Chris Richards). In cases where the algorithm cannot determine an exact match between critical data points, StudentTracker for High Schools utilizes other important data points to verify or corroborate a potential match. Typos, variations in how a name is spelled or reported, swapping numbers within a date, and other errors will reduce the likelihood of a match being made.

The data critical to ensuring a match between a student’s records are:

  • First name (required)
  • Last name (required)
  • Middle name or initial
  • Date of birth or DOB (required)

It is very important the above data elements are as accurate as possible and formatted appropriately for the StudentTracker application. First name, last name, and date of birth are all required data elements. Records without these data points cannot be matched.

In a small number of cases other data elements can be helpful in verifying a match. These elements may include high school ACT code, enrollment history, and geographical location.

Data elements that will not produce or verify a match are:

  • Student ID
  • Social Security number
  • Student Information System (SIS) generated number
  • District or state ID
  • School NCES or other assigned code

Why is a student who was missing from our reports now present?

The student may have released a block or hold on their record at the postsecondary level. While the student would have been included in aggregate reporting, they would have been missing from detail-level reporting.

The StudentTracker for High Schools development team constantly looks for ways to improve the performance of StudentTracker for High Schools. As we make improvements, you may see individual student records reported back to you that were previously missing.

> Reports

Where are my reports?

Reports are placed in your FTP account’s “Receive” folder (select “Home Folder,” then “Receive”). Aggregate reports are returned in PDF and text (.csv) formats contained in a zip file. Detail reports are returned as text (.csv) files.

When will I receive my reports and how will I know they are ready?

Our standard turnaround time is three to five business days. NOTE: Processing can take longer for large files and files submitted during our peak season in early November. If there are errors/issues preventing the file from being processed, we will reach out to the contacts on your FTP. When your reports are ready, your FTP account contacts will receive an email.

How do I access my Reports Library?

You must have a Web ID and the FTP and Reports roles assigned to your profile to access the Reports Library.

  1. Log on to studentclearinghouse.org and select “Access Reports Library” on the Research Services tab.
  2. Select the query type (Graduate or Request)
  3. Enter the effective date (i.e., the date the student information was matched against the enrollment information for that semester)
  4. Choose the Aggregate Reports you want to receive and schools to be included
  5. Tell us if you would also like a Detail Report

For step-by-step Instructions, see “Make Your Query and Report Selections.”

Where can I find the report definitions?

You can access the report definitions in the Access Reports Library section of the web tool and our Report Definitions help page. Report definitions can also be found at the end of your basic packet of Aggregate Reports.

Can I request a report from a file I uploaded last year?

Yes, you can request a report for an earlier effective date via the “Access Reports Library” option on the Research Services tab after you log on. You must have a Web ID and the FTP and Reports roles assigned to your profile to access the Reports Library.

What is the effective date?

The effective date is the snapshot date against which the Clearinghouse matches a graduate cohort. There are three effective dates per year: mid-to-late April, August 15, and mid-to-late November. Although colleges and universities submit data to the Clearinghouse all year long, some institutions submit data once a month and others once a year. The principal effective date is in November, which is when colleges and universities submit their fall enrollment data. The April and August effective dates allow high schools to capture students who enroll at postsecondary institutions outside of the fall window or during a summer term.

How does the Clearinghouse define an academic year?

Academic year is defined as any collegiate enrollment that occurs between August 15 of one year and August 14 of the following year.

Why are recent year graduates missing from my report?

If the student was not enrolled between August 15 of one year and August 14 of the following year, they will not be included. The Clearinghouse may not have the most recent college enrollment information for the most recent class until late November of that year. Students who graduate high school in June 2018, for example, will not appear in StudentTracker for High Schools reports until November 2018, when the fall effective date is established. (See the previous question on academic year definition.)

What can I learn from my reports?

StudentTracker reports enable you to see the postsecondary achievements of the students you reported as graduating from your high school(s). The Clearinghouse matches your students against our robust nationwide database of postsecondary records and returns enrollment and degree data on your students for whom we have student records in our database that can be reported.

The reports available through our StudentTracker for High Schools service include:

  • Detail Report that lists each student’s enrollment and degree information, if found and able to be reported
  • Aggregate Reports on various postsecondary outcomes so you can see how your classes compare against each other and gain insight into enrollment or degree patterns
    • Each outcome includes up to eight high school academic years categorized by institutional characteristics (public/private, two-/four-year, and in-state/out-of-state)
  • Academic and demographic reports, if you provide these data elements in your Graduates file

Report definitions are provided at the end of the Aggregate Reports.

> Detail Report

What does “Record Found indicator = N” mean on the Detail Report?

It means that no enrollment or degree records were not returned for a student, which can happen for a number of reasons including:

  • Student’s degree and/or enrollment record is blocked. Blocked records are represented in the Aggregate Report counts.
    • The report includes records that have a postsecondary term begin date OR term end date AFTER August 14 of the school graduation year, for example:
      • If a student’s graduation date is 5/25/2013 and the term begin AND end date occur prior to 5/25/2013 (e.g., 1/10/2013-5/11/2013), then the record will not be returned.
      • If a student’s graduation date is 5/25/2013, an enrollment record with the term dates, 5/19/2013-8/31/2013, is returned.
    • The student is not in the Clearinghouse’s database.
    • The school that the student is attending/has attended does not participate in the Clearinghouse or, if it does, may not have provided sufficient historical data.

Where can I access the Detail Report guide?

Click here to access the guide now. The guide is also available under Resources on the right side of our StudentTracker for High Schools page.

> Request File

What is a Request File and how do I submit it?

A Request File allows you to create custom cohort reports and confirm postsecondary enrollment of non-graduates. See “Submit a Request File” for instructions on formatting your Request File. (Note: Request File data is not stored in the Clearinghouse database).

> Billing/Invoice

When is our invoice due?

Your StudentTracker for High Schools invoice is due at the end of your 12-month subscription period. The Clearinghouse will mail your invoice to the Billing contact designated on your account contact list 45 days prior to the expiration date.

Where do I send the check?

Please make checks payable to National Student Clearinghouse and send to:

National Student Clearinghouse
P.O. Box 826576
Philadelphia, PA 19182-6576

Can I pay online?

Yes, you can make online payments via credit card at https://www.thepayplace.com/nsc/payments/st/challenge.aspx, which will also appear on the invoice.

Can I pay over the phone?

No. You can pay online or send a check.

Where can I get a new invoice?

If you did not receive your invoice, or would like to request a new one, please email Finance@studentclearinghouse.org.

Why does it say my account is inactive when I try to log on?

Subscriptions are for a 12-month period. Invoices are sent to billing contact 45 days prior to expiration. If payment is not received by the due date, the account is inactivated until payment is received.

Did you receive my payment?

Please contact our Finance team at Finance@studentclearinghouse.org for payment information.

We use Naviance. Who do we contact if we have questions?

Please contact Naviance directly with questions at naviance.com/help.

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