Center for Applied Research in Postsecondary Education (CARPE)

Grounded in practice. Informed by research. Improving postsecondary education for today's students.

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AIR’s Center for Applied Research in Postsecondary Education (CARPE) tackles postsecondary education’s most pressing challenges by generating actionable insights and helping the field implement effective solutions. 

Our work addresses every part of the postsecondary continuum including transition to postsecondary education, postsecondary education, and transition out of postsecondary education.

What We Do

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We ground our work in practice. We leverage our extensive experience working with postsecondary institutions and partnering with practitioners, policymakers, and students to infuse our work with real-world context and nuance.

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We elevate the unique experiences and voices of students, including students of color, first-generation students, students from low-income backgrounds, adult students, military students, rural students, and parenting students.

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We build the field’s capacity to improve outcomes. We work directly with key stakeholders to increase their capacity to implement evidence-based practices and transform systems.

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We apply our deep research expertise. Our experts draw on innovative methods to collect data, conduct research, and evaluate programs to drive continuous improvement.

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We share what we discover. We synthesize what we learn from practice, research, policy, and evaluation to engage and advance the field.


Our Areas of Expertise

Our projects address critical postsecondary needs in a variety of areas, including:

  • Access and Readiness: Projects focused on building student preparation, access, and readiness for college.
  • Affordability and Value: Projects focused on college cost and value for students and families.
  • Persistence and Completion: Projects focused on outcomes related to student persistence and completion.
  • Approaches to Instruction: Projects focused on approaches to classroom instruction at the postsecondary level.
  • STEM: Projects focused on building participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math fields in postsecondary education.
  • Fostering Equitable Career Pathways and Outcomes: Projects focused on postsecondary students’ career outcomes and the supports institutions can provide to support those outcomes.

Our Partners

We work with an array of partners, including:

  • Postsecondary institutions, systems, organizations, and associations
  • State education agencies and K-12 school districts
  • The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Center for Education Research, and National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance
  • The National Science Foundation and private foundations, such as the Ascendium Education Group, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lumina Foundation, and Walmart
Alexandria Radford headshot
Senior Director, Center for Applied Research in Postsecondary Education (CARPE)

Want to Learn More?

We encourage you to contact us with any questions, comments, or feedback you may have about CARPE’s work. One of our team members will respond to you as soon as possible.

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