Better, faster, and of course cheaper. Familiar demands that drive all industries. Higher education is no different. Students now growing up in the golden age of technology expect a certain level of sophistication throughout their higher education experience. The student is the most valuable asset of higher education and stakeholders must work together and support, as our highest priority, the success and achievement of the student along the entire lifecycle.
After all, finding and applying to the right college, taking the required tests, getting the appropriate financial aid, acclimating to the campus environment, and choosing the right career path while juggling life and employment obligations are all difficult enough. Emerging technologies, international health and financial crises, a constantly changing global economy, and new laws and regulations continue to shape, and sometimes disrupt progression along this lifecycle. Welcome to the new normal.
A significant level of complexity is added now too with the increase of adult learners and with the majority of students either transferring to multiple institutions or enrolling simultaneously in multiple institutions. As many of these factors continue to shift, the ability to measure success and achievement has subsequently become more difficult and more costly. Reliance on and demand for quality data to drive and inform decision-making and on cost-effective solutions has therefore emerged.
Yes, data, like students, are constantly in motion. Yet due to long-standing proprietary methods and lack of a common, sustainable infrastructure, our ability to communicate data about a student effectively and efficiently is, at best, disjointed and exceedingly costly. Our current systems were simply not built with mobility of data in mind; and consequently we all pay the price. We can and must do better.
Mobility and changing learning patterns together obsolete long-standing paradigms and drive the reengineering of how data systems are built and used.
The ability to create, collect, store, share, exchange, federate, report, anticipate, and protect education data must be automated through an open, accessible, and easy-to-use process. PESC - the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council proposes EdUnify, an agnostic, federated, decentralized network for postsecondary student data as the solution. Similar networks, like the ATM network in banking, already exist in other industries and serve as a best practices model. Like the ATM Network, EdUnify will simplify access to data, improve data quality, lower the cost of managing data and data systems, and accelerate performance and service over the long-term.
Establishment of EdUnify requires that we first agree on student achievement as our highest, shared value. We must commit to work together in coopetition, that is competitors and stakeholders working together in cooperation for this greater common good. We must agree on the use of common data standards and to their implementation as systems are being developed and built.
These values speak to the heart and mission of PESC. Stakeholders in higher education came together voluntarily in 1997, and with a proactive spirit, formed PESC as the non-profit leader and centralized clearinghouse dedicated to cost-effective connectivity between data systems, acceleration of performance and service, simplification of data access and research, and improvement of data quality along the higher education lifecycle. Powered by the strength of volunteers from its membership base, PESC maintains a trusting, open and transparent environment.
With this unique perspective we are breaking down costly, proprietary barriers, and we have mapped out a common, strategic path for the future. This path includes continued development of common data standards, establishment and support of data networks and infrastructure, common authentication and web services protocols enterprise-wide, seamless connections bridging postsecondary education systems to secondary and labor and workforce systems, and an eye on emerging technologies like social networking.
Together we are not only helping students across the country and all over the world, but with collaboration as a cornerstone principle, we are supplying administrators and executives, admissions officers, registrars, financial aid officers, CIOs, and architects the tools they need to do their jobs better. The political will and demand for improvement have never been greater and continue to increase with time as budgets tighten and common solutions like standardization are being viewed as wise, cost-saving investments.
With membership from all leading stakeholders in higher education, PESC was designated as the umbrella organization to coordinate and advocate for standardization and interoperability across higher education. We boldly accepted that mission and have worked diligently to establish a proven record of success and achievement. We now elevate the mission to the next level.
Now is the time. PESC is the place.
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