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ACE and UCLA Ed&IS Announce New Partnership to Strengthen Higher Education Research Institute

Photo credit: Paolo Cantos

New collaboration will strengthen capacity and impact of noted research effort

Washington (July 26, 2023)—The American Council on Education (ACE) and the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies (UCLA Ed&IS) today announced a new partnership to strengthen and lead the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI). ACE will join UCLA in carrying out the current HERI portfolio, and the two institutions will work together to enhance the institute by 2025.

HERI is a nationally recognized interdisciplinary research center for assessment, evaluation, information, and policy studies. HERI hosts the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP), a national longitudinal study of the American higher education system that is regarded as the most comprehensive source of information on college students. Originally established at ACE in 1966 and administered by HERI since 1973, CIRP is the nation’s largest and oldest empirical study of higher education. The study includes data on more than 1,900 institutions, over 15 million students, and more than 300,000 faculty. The CIRP longitudinal program produces a noted series of research reports including The Freshman Survey, Your First College Year Survey, Diverse Learning Environments Survey, and the College Senior Survey.

Since 2022, HERI surveys and research have been managed by the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) at UCLA Ed&IS. For more than five decades, CRESST has delivered high-quality research, assessment design and implementation, and measurement and statistical innovation that informs teaching and learning. CRESST is driving the next generation of psychometric, statistical, and computational models and approaches to improve data analyses and evidence-based inferences across diverse educational settings including higher education. Led by Ed&IS faculty, CRESST will play a key role in shaping the future of HERI.

“ACE is tremendously excited to work with UCLA Ed&IS to build on the groundbreaking work it has already achieved,” ACE President Ted Mitchell said. “As a trailblazer in higher education research, HERI has produced crucial findings on the students attending college and informed higher education leaders about the students they serve. We look forward to working with UCLA Ed&IS to further this mission.” 

“UCLA Ed&IS is so pleased to join forces with ACE,” the Wasserman Dean and UCLA Ed&IS professor Tina Christie said. “Our partnership will strengthen the impact of HERI as an essential report on the state of students in higher education and to best serve our institutions of higher education.”  

Over the next year, ACE and UCLA will work together to advance HERI and its intellectual and practical impact. UCLA will continue to manage and administer existing surveys, and the two partners will produce new HERI survey reports, including a report on data from The Freshman Survey. As the partnership develops, ACE will take on more active and coordinated roles in survey outreach and recruitment efforts, starting with the 2024 survey cycle.

ACE’s partnership with UCLA adds a critical element to the Council’s expansive research portfolio. ACE has long been a national leader in faculty- and president-level data collection and research in higher education, and this partnership will expand the scope to students, enabling it to study nearly every facet of higher education.

“HERI has long been the prominent institute researching all aspects of the millions of students who pursue postsecondary education,” said Hironao Okahana, assistant vice president and executive director of ACE’s Education Futures Lab. “This partnership will bolster the research we conduct by adding a transformative component to our work. We could not be more thrilled to join forces with UCLA Ed&IS in pursuit of supporting higher education institutions and the students they serve.” 

“We are very excited to envision HERI’s future with ACE,” CRESST Director Li Cai said. “This is an opportunity to elevate and expand HERI’s research in new ways for new purposes. With the extensive capacity and expertise of ACE and CRESST’s knowledge of assessment and methodology, we see HERI growing into an even more impactful and influential source of evidence in higher education and beyond.”

News Media Contacts: UCLA Ed&IS - John McDonald -

American Council on Education - Jack Nicholson -