Data Integrity, Security and Privacy

Washington’s public four-year universities and college have a long history of reporting data to inform state fiscal and policy decisions and research. We are committed to policies, best practices and collaborative working relationships that help ensure the accuracy, security and privacy of institution data.

Washington Public Four-Year College and University Data

Washington’s public four-year institutions regularly collaborate to better understand institutional data processes and develop shared definitions and communications to external stakeholders about institutional data.

Institutions provide student and institutional data through the Public Centralized Higher Education Enrollment System (PCHEES) to the Washington Office of Financial Management Education and Research Data Center (ERDC). PCHEES includes a wide range of data including enrollment, completion and student demographics. 

PCHEES, through a data sharing agreement between each institution and the ERDC, serves as the framework for all data reporting and sharing for Washington’s public four-year college and universities. This includes data requests required by statute and requested by state agencies, researchers and third-party entities.

External Data Requests

State-level requests for data are increasing and becoming more complex. At the same time, changes in processes and policies around data privacy, sharing, and collection have changed the data conversation in higher education and state government more broadly. 

To help ensure the integrity and accuracy of each institution’s data it is important to ensure a collective awareness of processes and communication.

Washington’s public four-year college and universities partner with ERDC to respond to data requests from individuals, agencies, and other third-party entities that are not part of the administration of the institution, this includes university or college researchers. The ERDC in partnership with institutions and through data sharing agreements follow the data request process outlined by ERDC.

Federal and State Laws Protecting Student Privacy

Federal law, specifically the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), safeguards the confidentiality of individual student information.

State law, specifically the Washington Public Disclosure Act (RCW 42.56), establishes a strong state policy for disclosure of public records.  


Institutional Research/Effectiveness Offices: