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Common Data Set

The Common Data Set (CDS) initiative is a collaborative effort between the higher education community and publishers of college guidebooks, including the College Board, Peterson's Guides, and US News and World Report.  Participation in the CDS is voluntary, but is currently used by hundreds of US colleges and universities each year.

The primary goal of the CDS is to improve the quality, accuracy, and consistency of information reported by colleges and universities to guidebooks, media, and all others involved in a student's transition into higher education. To this end, the CDS collects data with explicit data definitions that are to be followed by all colleges using the CDS. 

The second goal of the CDS is to reduce the substantial burden on colleges of compiling and reporting information to multiple publishers of many college guidebooks, and other data consumers. Common Data Set items and definitions regularly undergo broad review, and may be revised slightly from time to time as necessary. The CDS includes most of the data used by US News to produces its annual rankings published in “America’s Best Colleges.”

See for details.