Data Collection

NCHE Resources

Data Collection Briefs

The National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) developed a series of briefs focused on ensuring data submitted to ED meets quality standards and conforms to program requirements. The first brief in the series provides an overview of the data collection process while subsequent briefs examine common questions related to individual file specifications.
Go to The Data Collection Process and Students Experiencing Homelessness. *updated March 2023
Go to A Closer Look at File Specifications: FS 118. *updated March 2023
Go to A Closer Look at File Specifications: FS 150 and 151.
Go to A Closer Look at File Specifications: FS 170. *updated March 2023
Go to A Closer Look at File Specifications: FS 193. *NEW July 2023
Download A Closer Look at File Specifications: FS 194.
Go to A Closer Look at File Specifications: FS 195. *updated July 2023
Download A Closer Look at the Consolidated State Performance Report, Part I: Manual Entry. *updated March 2023

Guide to Collecting and Reporting Federal Data: Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program
This Guide serves as a resource for managing the collection and submission of high quality data that meets federal requirements. While primarily designed to meet the needs of State Coordinators for Homeless Education and EDFacts Coordinators, local liaisons may also find the Guide helpful in completing data reports required by their State Educational Agencies. The Guide includes:
  • a list of all the information school districts and states are required to report,
  • a table to help liaisons and state coordinators assess data quality,
  • sample comments states can submit with data, and
  • information to help plan for future collections.
Download the Guide to Collecting and Reporting Federal Data: Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program.
Housing and School Partnership on the  Point-In-Time Count
This NCHE fact sheet, geared towards a school audience, provides information about the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s annual Point-In-Time (PIT) count, and suggests strategies for how schools can help ensure the most comprehensive and effective count of youth experiencing homelessness.
Download Housing and School Partnership on the Point-In-Time Count.

Other Resources is the U.S. government’s official government-wide online data source. Created as part of President Obama’s commitment to open government and democratizing information, will open up the workings of government by making economic, healthcare, environmental, educational, and other government information available on a single website, allowing the public to access raw data and transform it in innovative ways.
Download the website.
Data Quality Campaign: Using Data To Improve Student Achievement
The Data Quality Campaign is a national, collaborative effort to encourage and support state policymakers to improve the collection, availability and use of high-quality education data and to implement state longitudinal data systems to improve student achievement.
Visit the Data Quality Campaign website.
Homeless Children and Youth in Public Schools
This webpage from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is a special data highlight from the NCES report entitled The Condition of Education 2017. The homeless education data highlight summarizes key data points from the 2014-2015 school year, including the number and percentage of public school students identified as homeless, the primary nighttime residence of homeless students, the location of homeless students (state; and rural, town, suburban, or urban), and more.
Visit the Homeless Children and Youth in Public Schools webpage.
Visit The Condition of Education 2017 webpage.
Homelessness: A Common Vocabulary Could Help Agencies Collaborate and Collect More Consistent Data
This June 2010 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) addresses (1) the availability, completeness, and usefulness of federal data on homelessness, (2) the extent to which research identifies factors associated with experiencing homelessness, and (3) how differences in definitions and other factors impact the effectiveness of programs serving those experiencing homelessness. GAO reviewed laws, agency regulations, performance and planning documents, data, and literature on homelessness; and spoke with stakeholders, such as government officials and service providers, about potential barriers. 
Download Homelessness: A Common Vocabulary Could Help Agencies Collaborate and Collect More Consistent Data.
HUD Point-In-Time Count Implementation Tools
The Point-in-Time (PIT) count is an annual count of people experiencing homelessness on a single night in the last 10 days in January. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires its Continuum of Care (CoC) grantees to conduct an annual count of sheltered homeless persons. CoCs also must conduct a count of unsheltered homeless persons every other year (odd numbered years). Each count is planned, coordinated, and carried out locally by service providers and trained volunteers. This HUD webpage provides a variety of resources for planning and conducting the annual PIT count, including planning worksheets, survey tools, and data extrapolation tools. 
Visit the HUD Point-In-Time Count Implementation Tools webpage.
Interagency Data Disclosure: A Tip Sheet on Interagency Collaboration
This tip sheet, developed by the U.S. Department of Education in coordination with the the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, will help state and local homeless education programs, housing and human service agencies, and organizations serving homeless families, children, and youth coordinate their services better by disclosing student data with each other. The tip sheet discusses the privacy rights and protections in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and focuses on the following areas of data sharing:
1.Disclosure of aggregate data
2.Disclosure of individual student data with consent
3.Disclosure of individual student data without consent under applicable exceptions outlined in federal law.
The tip sheet also highlights the work of several communities that have implemented effective data sharing and integration strategies to serve homeless families, children, and youth more effectively. 
Download Interagency Data Disclosure: A Tip Sheet on Interagency Collaboration.
Privacy and Data Sharing
This webpage from the U.S. Department of Education’s Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) focuses on the topic of data sharing under FERPA, including exploring best practices and legal requirements for protecting student privacy while sharing data between educational agencies, partner organizations, and other third parties
Visit the Privacy and Data Sharing webpage.
Youth Count! Process Study
Youth Count! is a federal interagency initiative that aims to improve counts of unaccompanied homeless youth. Between December 2012 and January 2013, nine U.S. communities participated in the initiative by expanding their annual homeless Point-in-Time count efforts to increase coverage of homeless youth. This report details a process study of the initiative conducted by Urban Institute to identify promising practices that could be adapted and taken to scale to produce credible and useful data nationwide.
Download the Youth Count! Process Study.

Sample Forms, Materials, and Policies

Aligning Education and Housing: Data Sharing Agreement Template
This data sharing template from the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) seeks to foster data sharing between housing and other sector organizations in order to improve efficiency, reduce duplication of efforts, and increase holistic care for low-income children. It draws upon successfully implemented data sharing agreements between housing authorities and other organizations. The template allows for flexibility by permitting the insertion and deletion of parts where indicated to fit community needs.
Download Aligning Education and Housing: Data Sharing Agreement Template.
Download Aligning Education and Housing: Data Sharing Agreement Template (for intermediary organizations).