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Get Started with EDA

Learning Objectives

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

  • Describe the Education Data Architecture (EDA).
  • Describe what value EDA brings to educational institutions.
  • Sign up for an EDA trial and begin working in Salesforce.
  • Know how to find EDA resources.

What Is EDA?



Want to learn more about Education Cloud? Check out the Education Cloud Basics module.

The Education Data Architecture (EDA) is simply that—a data architecture designed for educational institutions. Built in collaboration with Salesforce.org 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. But, 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!


Before EDA, education admins had to spend several months—and devote heavy IT resources—getting their pantry in order. They needed to create similar 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.

We go into more details about architecture in the next unit. For now, know that EDA uses standard Salesforce objects such as accounts and contacts and 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.

Group of runners

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, logging in, finding resources, and so on. Then we dive right into the data architecture to show you what makes EDA so valuable.

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. Go to the Salesforce.org Education Data Architecture (EDA) Trial Page.
  2. Fill out the form and click Submit.


The username you enter toward the end of the form must be in email address format. It does not, however, need to be an active email address. For example, you could use admin@myEDAorg.edu as your username. You can also use your work email address if it makes it easier for you to remember your username.

Log In to Your New EDA Org

  1. Check your email and look for a message from support@salesforce.com.
  2. Click the login link that’s provided in the email, set a new password, and log in.



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. Salesforce.org provides several free resources for education users.

The greatest of these resources is the Power of Us Hub—Salesforce.org’s vibrant online community. In the Hub, 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, Director of CRM Strategic Initiatives, 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 Hub, 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
  • Ability to submit Ideas that help shape Salesforce.org products—like EDA!

In addition to the Hub, members of the nonprofit and education community host a weekly office hours webinar where you can get your questions answered. The webinar is staffed by a team of Salesforce experts familiar with nonprofits and educational institutions.

There are also local Salesforce user groups all over the world. People who are using Salesforce at their organizations meet offline to discuss best practices, tips and tricks, and general Salesforce information. Check to see if there’s a user group near you, and consider joining the community!