College students in the CPS or better source?

I realize the CPS doesn’t survey college residence halls (I tell my students that dorms are like prisons in the CPS). Thus, I assume the college student data in the CPS is for commuter students. But is there another Census product that does have college student data? I assume the 2020 Census does, but are there other products?

The CPS might not actually treat dorms like prisons. The CPS surveys both family and group quarters and identifies the type of quarters under the variable GQTYPE. The description there notes that “institutions such as college dorms or military barracks are examples of group quarters without families.” If you want to use CPS data you’ll want to be able to additionally distinguish between college dorms and other group quarters without families. SCHLCOLL indicates whether the respondent was enrolled in school or college in the previous week and whether they were enrolled full-time or part-time. Using this in combination with GQTYPE should let you restrict your analysis to college students living in college when surveyed by the CPS.

The ACS, accessed through IPUMS USA, also has data on college students. That survey classifies college dorms into non-institutional group quarters. Student data can be parsed from respondents in similar quarters using GRADEATT. An additional note is that data from the 2020 census is not yet available through IPUMS and we are likely years out from a public release.

Hope that helps!