Get Started with EDA

Learning Objectives 

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe the Education Data Architecture (EDA).
  • Sign up for an EDA trial and begin working in Salesforce.

Hello, Education Admin!

The Education Data Architecture (EDA) is just that—a data architecture designed for educational institutions. And as your school’s Salesforce administrator, you have the awesome opportunity to install, configure, maintain, and operate Salesforce’s suite of powerful technology and tools to connect your campus and support its constituents. That’s pretty major.

In this module, we walk through the admin-focused basics of what EDA is, how to navigate EDA Settings, and how to understand the EDA account model. Throughout the module, we follow the journey of Nina Brown, Salesforce administrator at Cloudy College. This fictional institution and admin have appeared in other Education Cloud modules, but if this is your first time encountering them, here’s a quick introduction:

  • Nina Brown, Salesforce Administrator at Cloudy College. Cloudy College is a private, liberal arts college in the Northwest United States. Founded in 1964, Cloudy College recently enrolled more than 3,800 students for their fall semester.
  • Nina has seven years of experience in Salesforce administration in higher ed and has been the Salesforce admin at Cloudy College for the past four years. She leads the ongoing development and configuration of Cloudy’s Salesforce deployment. She executes the day-to-day configuration, support, maintenance, and improvement of Salesforce at Cloudy and ensures that it works seamlessly across campus. Nina acts as the primary contact and subject matter expert on the critical issues and processes of CRM at the college and she has a strong reputation for improving the processes and adoption of the platform across campus.

Keep in mind that Nina’s experiences, based on the requirements of Cloudy College, may be a bit different from your own. Don’t let that throw you off your admin game. All schools have unique needs and the scenarios in this module are just some examples of EDA in action. Feel free to follow along with the Cloudy College examples as practice, or substitute your own data if you please. We’re here for you either way!


This module provides examples of using EDA in a higher education setting. If you want to learn more about how to administer Salesforce in a K-12 district or school, we recommend that you check out the K-12 Architecture Kit Administration Basics module. We linked it for you in the Resources section below.

What Is EDA?

Built in collaboration with partners and customers, EDA provides out-of-the-box functionality to organize your data in Salesforce. It helps institutions of all sizes connect with students, alumni, parents, and faculty in all kinds of ways. Think of EDA as a huge pantry with loads of different things inside. And, in the EDA pantry, all your ingredients are perfectly organized. That way when you need something, you know exactly where and how to find it. Now who wouldn’t want a pantry like that!

EDA is like a perfectly organized pantry that allows you to find exactly what you need without searching through clutter.

Before EDA, education admins had to spend several months—and devote heavy IT resources—to get their pantry in order. They needed to create data architectures by hand and from scratch because no standard was available. Now with EDA, an admin can get up and running in half the time it normally takes to set up a traditional Salesforce deployment. Pretty amazing, right?

We go into more detail about architecture in the rest of this module. For now, know that EDA uses standard Salesforce objects such as accounts and contacts, along with custom objects such as relationships and affiliations, to track all kinds of connections. These tracked and organized connections make it simple to find the information you need in Salesforce.

Let’s say that you need a list of all seniors on the track team so that you can plan an awards event before they graduate. You also want to email an invitation for the event to all the students’ parents. You can use EDA, along with Salesforce reports and campaigns, to easily accomplish these tasks.

But wait, there’s more! EDA also keeps track of students’ program and course enrollments. Want to know how many classes a student has left before they can complete their degree? Want to find out how many first-year students are enrolled in the English program? You can do all that and more with EDA.

For the rest of this unit, we spend time getting all the logistics out of the way—signing up for EDA, finding resources, and so on. Then we dive right into the data architecture to show you what makes EDA so valuable. Ready? Let’s get to it.

Sign Up for an EDA Trial

Your journey with EDA begins by signing up for a 30-day trial version of Salesforce. Within 30 days of signing up you must complete the Power of Us application, which converts your trial version to a permanent Salesforce org. For now, let’s just sign up.

  1. Click here to open the Education Data Architecture (EDA) Trial Page.
  2. Fill out the form completely.
    1. For Email, enter an active email address that’s unknown to Salesforce. The email address you provide becomes the username in this new trial org. Usernames must be globally unique across all instances of Salesforce, so you must use an email account that is unknown to Salesforce or your installation won’t work.
  3. After you fill out the form, click Submit. A confirmation message appears.
  4. When you receive the activation email (this might take a few minutes), open it and click Verify Account.
  5. Complete your registration by setting your password and challenge question. Tip: Write down your username, password, and login URL for easy access later.

Don’t forget to complete the Power of Us application at some point during your 30-day trial period. Once your application has been approved, your trial version converts to a permanent Salesforce org. If you don’t complete your Power of Us application within 30 days, you lose access to your trial org.

EDA Resources

As you follow along and learn more about Salesforce and EDA, you might get the itch to explore some more on your own. provides several free resources for education admins.

The greatest of these resources is the Trailblazer Community—Salesforce's vibrant online community. In the Trailblazer Community, your fellow education admins and developers discuss all questions, great and small. It’s the place to be if you work for an educational institution using Salesforce. In the words of Joanna Iturbe, Enterprise CRM Functional Director, University of Colorado Boulder, “You get out of the community what you put into it, that’s why I believe it’s so important to contribute. Not only are you able to get and give support and answers, but you end up building an incredibly valuable network of colleagues and even friends!”

In the Trailblazer Community, you find:

  • Questions and answers on virtually everything related to Salesforce and education
  • Specialized groups dedicated to the technical issues you’re interested in
  • Product documentation, workbooks, and helpful tips
  • The most knowledgeable experts on Salesforce and education in the world
  • The ability to submit Ideas that help shape products—like EDA!

There are also local Salesforce user groups all over the world. User group meetings attract people who are using Salesforce at their organizations to discuss best practices, tips and tricks, and general Salesforce information. Check the User Groups site listed below to see if there’s a group near you, and consider joining the community.

Next up, we introduce EDA Settings and give you the scoop on the Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD). See you in the next unit!


Keep learning for
Sign up for an account to continue.
What’s in it for you?
  • Get personalized recommendations for your career goals
  • Practice your skills with hands-on challenges and quizzes
  • Track and share your progress with employers
  • Connect to mentorship and career opportunities