How does NECC Stack up to Other Community Colleges in MA? Check out the DHE Data Center

 In IE Blog

If you have ever wondered how NECC stacks up to the other Community Colleges across the state, the Department of Higher Education (DHE) DHE Data Center is a great web site to start exploring.  The Data Center is where the DHE publishes reports and data tables about the Community Colleges, State Universities, and the UMass Campuses.  The Data Center covers several topics ranging from simple headcounts and demographics to tuition information and course completion rates.  It provides reports and analysis of enrollment trends over time as well as equity and gap issues. This includes comparisons across campuses. 

Today we’re just going to scratch the surface of what you can learn from the DHE Data Center, in the hopes that you will poke and click around to find topics that interest you. 

As many of you may know, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness (IE) submits data to the DHE.  We do this through a system called Higher Education Information Resource System, more commonly known as HEIRS. 

Every year, NECC’s office of IE and all the other postsecondary institutions in the state upload various data sets into HEIRS such as: 

  • The Term Files (Students, Courses, and Enrollments) for Fall, Spring, and Summer. 
  • The Annual File (Students, Courses, and Enrollments) to include the Fiscal Year includes non-credit data. 
  • The Commonwealth Commitment File 
  • The STEM Starter File for each term 
  • The Degrees Conferred File. 
  • The Program Inventory File (a List of program majors offered by the College). 

In turn, the DHE publishes reports and data tables about the Community Colleges and State Universities based on these submissions. Click here to access the Data Center. 

Take note of where it says, “About Reports Data.”  Reports and Data are selections where the DHE displays information about the Community Colleges, State Universities, and UMass Campuses.  These selections lead to reports or data tables that illustrate trends for the whole system, as well as comparisons between the schools. 

For example, if you click on Data, a selection menu appears.  Then, you can click on Access & Affordability. 

By clicking on Access & Affordability, a new webpage appears with a list of data tables to select from. Each square (yellow or blue) is a selectable item. 

By clicking on the yellow box labeled, “Fall Unduplicated Credit Headcount,” the new page shows a list of all Mass Community Colleges with a 10-year trend of their Fall Headcounts at their census dates.  And yes, the table can be downloaded. 

For more in-depth information, go back to “About Reports Data,” and click on “Reports.”  Here you can find articles and analysis focusing on varied topics. Sure, there are enrollment trends, but you can also find interesting report topics such as equity, student completion, and pandemic issues. 

This will bring up a page featuring “Data Stories.”  Each block is a clickable item leading to an in-depth report. These are more like news articles explaining the tables and graphs. 

The following is an excerpt from the “2020 Enrollment Report.”  This report shows a combination of Community College, State University, and UMass information, data, and analysis. Reports like these offer a broad perspective of trends across the State’s higher education system. 

So, if you are curious about what happens to our data, or if you want to learn more about NECC and how we relate to the other State institutions, visit the DHE Data Center. We encourage you to explore the tool with the questions below in mind, and then let us know your thoughts.  

  • What community college comparison data are you curious to explore but don’t see on the DHE website?  
  • What other NECC data do you want to further unpack?  
  • What other questions and data about equity and access might the DHE or NECC further illustrate through these dashboards? 

Please share your ideas in the comments or message us at  

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