Data Improvements Underway
Some of the needs and issues surrounding attrition research are already being addressed by SRS-in improvements to SRS databases and conference activities. The sample in the Survey of Doctoral Recipients (SDR), for example, has been expanded to include all recent Ph.D.s who have received NSF fellowships. It is also being updated to include a larger number of recent Ph.D.s. The intention is to make information on the more recent doctorates available sooner for analysis. Finally, SRS is analyzing financial support by using the 1995-96 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, which is conducted by NCES. The objectives are (1) to study the overall composition of the sources of support used by graduate students, and (2) to show how that support relates to the social and demographic characteristics of students.
SRS also held a workshop that examined the feasibility of using university accounting and financial systems to identify students by name and demographic characteristics, so that those who receive NSF support can be identified and tracked in SRS surveys.
 Report on the NSF Feasibility Workshop on Identifying and Obtaining Tracking Data for Graduate Students. Supported by the National Science Foundation, June 23, 1997.