This project will add detailed information on postsecondary education for the National Longitudinal Study of Youth of 1997 (NLSY97) respondents, culled from transcripts and other administrative records of test scores and postsecondary enrollment histories. Postsecondary transcripts will be collected and coded according to a well-established taxonomy used by researchers, policy makers, and administrators alike. These newly collected data, plus a large number of variables that summarize and describe students'postsecondary experiences and outcomes will be made available as part of the publicly distributed NLS data set. The NLSY97 is the premier nationally representative longitudinal data set for studying the transition from high school to work and into adulthood. In several key domains (employment, schooling, marriage and cohabitation, government program participation, migration), the NLSY97 includes month-by-month status variables for all respondents. This postsecondary transcript study provides invaluable detailed chronological information about students'enrollment patterns across post-secondary institutions, the courses they took (including the content of the courses) and their performance in those courses. The data produced from this study will provide vital information about the complex interplay of family, education, work and health across the life course. This information is key to understanding the pathways through which education-based health disparities are produced. This large and complex study will involve two major phases and a multidisciplinary research team. The first phase involves the collection and coding of approximately 7,500 postsecondary transcripts from about 4,800 NLSY97 respondents. The second phase will produce constructed variables and data files for public dissemination. These constructed variables are essential to stimulate wide use of the postsecondary education data. In addition to producing public access data, investigators will conduct workshops in a number of settings and provide detailed documentation to introduce the data to multidisciplinary users in both research and applied settings, and encourage their use.
A major source of health disparities in the U.S. is education. Consistent with one of two goals of the Healthy People 2010 initiative, to "eliminate health disparities among different segments of the population", this study will provide vital data about the production of education-based health disparities by collecting and coding rich information about postsecondary educational experiences during early adulthood.