Integraded Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Complete Glossary Listing

Term Definition
ACT ACT, previously known as the American College Testing program, measures educational development and readiness to pursue college-level coursework in English, mathematics, natural science, and social studies. Student performance does not reflect innate ability and is influenced by a student’s educational preparedness.
Adjunct faculty Non-tenure track faculty serving in a temporary or auxiliary capacity to teach specific courses on a course-by-course basis. Includes both faculty who are hired to teach an academic degree-credit course and those hired to teach a remedial, developmental, or ESL course; whether the latter three categories earn college credit is immaterial. Excludes regular part-time faculty (who, unlike adjuncts are not paid on a course-by-course basis), graduate assistants, full-time professional staff of the institution who may teach individual courses (such as a dean or academic advisor), and appointees who teach non-credit courses exclusively.(IPEDS)
Adjusted cohort The result of removing any allowable exclusions from a cohort (or subcohort). For the Graduation Rates component, this is the cohort from which graduation and transfer-out rates are calculated; for the Fall Enrollment component, it is the cohort for calculating retention rate. (IPEDS)
Advanced placement (AP) courses College-level courses taught in high school. Students may take an examination at the completion of the course; acceptable scores allow students to earn college credit toward a degree, certificate, or other formal award. (IPEDS)
Aid received For the purposes of the IPEDS Student Financial Aid (SFA) component, aid received refers to financial aid that was awarded to, and accepted by, a student. This amount may differ from the aid amount that is disbursed to a student. For example, a student may accept aid that was awarded by the institution but then leave the institution prior to the aid being disbursed. In this case, because the student accepted the aid, the aid would be reported to IPEDS, even though it was NOT actually disbursed to the student.
Applicant An individual who has fulfilled the institution’s requirements to be considered for admission (including payment or waiving of the application fee, if any) and who has been notified of one of the following actions: admission, nonadmission, placement on waiting list, or application withdrawn by applicant or institution.
Associate’s degree An award that normally requires at least 2 but less than 4 years of full-time equivalent college work. (IPEDS)
Bachelor’s degree An award (baccalaureate or equivalent degree, as determined by the Secretary, U.S. Department of Education) that normally requires at least 4 but not more than 5 years of full-time equivalent college-level work. This includes all bachelor’s degrees conferred in a 5-year cooperative (work-study) program. A cooperative plan provides for alternate class attendance and employment in business, industry, or government; thus, it allows students to combine actual work experience with their college studies. Also includes bachelor’s degrees in which the normal 4 years of work are completed in 3 years
Bachelor’s or equivalent degree-seeking subcohort In the GRS component of IPEDS, a cohort of students who were seeking a bachelor’s or equivalent degree upon entry
Books and supplies The average cost of books and supplies for a typical student for an entire academic year (or program). Does not include unusual costs for special groups of students (e.g., engineering or art majors), unless they constitute the majority of students at an institution.
Calculation of FTE students (using instructional activity) The number of FTE is based on credit hours.  FTE= total undergraduate credit hours divided by 15 plus total graduate credit hours divided by 12
Carnegie Classification An institutional classification coding structure developed by the Andrew W. Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Certificate A formal award certifying the satisfactory completion of a postsecondary education program.
CEP Concurrent Enrollment Partnership. High School students taking college level classes at their high schools. These college level classes are accepted for credit at both the high school and postsecondary institutions.
CIP code A six-digit code in the form xx.xxxx that identifies instructional program specialties within educational institutions
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) A taxonomic coding scheme for secondary and postsecondary instructional programs. It is intended to facilitate the organization, collection, and reporting of program data using classifications that capture the majority of reportable data. The CIP is the accepted federal government statistical standard on instructional program classifications and is used in a variety of education information surveys and databases.
Cohort A specific group of students established for tracking purposes
Collection year The academic year in which IPEDS data were collected. Most Institutional Characteristics, Salaries, Fall Staff, Fall Enrollment, and Employees by Assigned Position data are collected for the current year; Completions, 12-Month Enrollment, Student Financial Aid, and Finance data collections cover the prior year
College Navigator Web tool accessed through that provides selected IPEDS data to assist students, parents, high school counselors, and others obtain information about nearly 7,000 postsecondary institutions in the United States and other areas. It offers a wide range of information including programs offered, retention and graduation rates, aid available, campus safety, accreditation, and estimated student expenses. NOTE: Replaces the College Opportunities Online Locator (IPEDS COOL)
Completer A student who receives a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award. In order to be considered a completer, the degree/award must actually be conferred.
Completers within 150% of normal time Students who completed their program within 150% of the normal (or expected) time for completion.
Completions (C) This annual component of IPEDS collects number of degrees and other formal awards (certificates) conferred. These data are reported by level (associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctor’s, and first-professional), as well as by length of program for some. Both are reported by race/ethnicity and gender of recipient, and the field of study, using the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code. Institutions report all degrees and other awards conferred during an entire academic year, from July 1 of one calendar year through June 30 of the following year. Completions data by race/ethnicity at the 2-digit CIP level became an annual collection in 1990; since the 1995 collection, race/ethnicity is collected at the 6-digit CIP level. In 2001, IPEDS began collecting completers of double majors by level, 6-digit CIP code, and by race/ethnicity and gender of recipient
Concurrent Students PNC definition: High School students taking college level classes at their high schools. These college level classes are accepted for credit at both the high school and postsecondary institutions.
Core Student Population A Purdue University North Central term. All PNC students except dual credit students  and correctional center students.
Credit course A course that, if successfully completed, can be applied toward the number of courses required for achieving a postsecondary degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award, irrespective of the activity’s unit of measurement.
Credit hour A unit of measure representing the equivalent of an hour (50 minutes) of instruction per week over the entire term. It is applied toward the total number of credit hours needed for completing the requirements of a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award.
Data collection system The Web environment that is used to collect the IPEDS data
Debt for Graduates Governance Report/BOT:
The percentage of graduating students with debt and the average total debt of graduating students is reported for both undergraduate and graduate students. This information excludes PLUS Loans (parent is borrower, not student).
Common Data Set:
The percentage of bachelor degree graduating students with debt and average total debt of bachelor degree graduating students that were first time students at the institution is reported. This information excludes PLUS Loans (parent is borrower, not student).
Degree An award conferred by a college, university, or other postsecondary education institution as official recognition for the successful completion of a program of studies.
Distance education Education that uses one or more technologies to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor and to support regular and substantive interaction between the students and the instructor synchronously or asynchronously.  Technologies used for instruction may include the following: Internet; one-way and two-way transmissions through open broadcasts, closed circuit, cable, microwave, broadband lines, fiber optics, satellite or wireless communication devices; audio conferencing; and video cassette, DVDs, and CD-ROMs, if the cassette, DVDs, and CD-ROMs are used in a course in conjunction with the technologies listed above.
Distance education course A course in which the instructional content is delivered exclusively via distance education.
Distance education program A program for which all the required coursework for program completion is able to be completed via distance education courses.
Dual credit A program through which high school students are enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) courses, taught at their high school, that fulfill high school graduation requirements and may earn the student college credits .
ICHE definition: Students enrolled in high school, taking college level classes that are accepted for credit at both the high school and postsecondary institution.PNC definition: High School students taking college level classes on campus (not at their high school). These college level classes are accepted for credit at both the high school and postsecondary institutions.
Exclusions Those students who may be removed (deleted) from a cohort (or subcohort). For the Graduation Rates and Fall Enrollment retention rate reporting, students may be removed from a cohort if they left the institution for one of the following reasons: death or total and permanent disability; service in the armed forces (including those called to active duty); service with a foreign aid service of the federal government, such as the Peace Corps; or service on official church missions.
Faculty Persons identified by the institution as such and typically those whose initial assignments are made for the purpose of conducting instruction, research or public service as a principal activity (or activities). They may hold academic rank titles of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, instructor, lecturer or the equivalent of any of those academic ranks. Faculty may also include the chancellor/president, provost, vice provosts, deans, directors or the equivalent, as well as associate deans, assistant deans and executive officers of academic departments (chairpersons, heads or the equivalent) if their principal activity is instruction combined with research and/or public service. The designation as “faculty” is separate from the activities to which they may be currently assigned. For example, a newly appointed president of an institution may also be appointed as a faculty member. Graduate, instruction, and research assistants are not included in this category.
Fall cohort The group of students entering in the fall term established for tracking purposes. For the Graduation Rates component, this includes all students who enter an institution as full-time, first-time degree or certificate-seeking undergraduate students during the fall term of a given year
Fall Enrollment-IPEDS Under Part D-Total Undergraduate Entering Class, D5 Of the total non-degree/certificate-seeking undergraduates displayed on line D4, the number that are new to the institution in Fall XXXX: Concurrent Students/Dual Credit students are not required to complete a new application every semester. SQL was written to check that the non-degree/certificate seeking students did not have enrollment in any previous semesters.
Federal grants (grants/educational assistance funds) Grants provided by federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Education, including Title IV Pell Grants and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG). Also includes need-based and merit-based educational assistance funds and training vouchers provided from other federal agencies and/or federally-sponsored educational benefits programs. (Used for reporting on the Student Financial Aid component)
Federal Work-Study (FWS) A part-time work program awarding on- or off-campus jobs to students who demonstrate financial need. FWS positions are primarily funded by the government, but are also partially funded by the institution. FWS is awarded to eligible students by the college as part of the student’s financial aid package. The maximum FWS award is based on the student’s financial need, the number of hours the student is able to work, and the amount of FWS funding available at the institution. This is a type of Title IV Aid, but is not considered grant aid to students.
Financial aid Federal Work Study, grants, loans to students (government and/or private), assistantships, scholarships, fellowships, tuition waivers, tuition discounts, employer aid (tuition reimbursement) and other monies (other than from relatives/friends) provided to students to meet expenses. This excludes loans to parents.
First-time student (undergraduate) A student who has no prior postsecondary experience (except as noted below) attending any institution for the first time at the undergraduate level. This includes students enrolled in academic or occupational programs. It also includes students enrolled in the fall term who attended college for the first time in the prior summer term, and students who entered with advanced standing (college credits earned before graduation from high school).
First-year student A student who has completed less than the equivalent of 1 full year of undergraduate work; that is, less than 30 semester hours (in a 120-hour degree program) or less than 900 contact hours .
FTE of students The full-time equivalent (FTE) of students is a single value providing a meaningful combination of full time and part time students. IPEDS data products currently have two calculations of FTE students, one using fall student headcounts and the other using 12-month instructional activity.
Full aid year For the purposes of the IPEDS Student Financial Aid (SFA) component, full aid year refers to either the academic year (for academic reporters) or the period between September 1 and August 31 (for program reporters).
Full-time instructional faculty Those members of the instruction/research staff who are employed full time and whose major regular assignment is instruction, including those with released time for research. Also, includes full-time faculty for whom it is not possible to differentiate between teaching, research and public service because each of these functions is an integral component of his/her regular assignment.
Full-time student Undergraduate: A student enrolled for 12 or more semester credits , or 12 or more quarter credits, or 24 or more contact hours a week each term. Graduate: A student enrolled for 9 or more semester credits, or 9 or more quarter credits, or a student involved in thesis or dissertation preparation that is considered full time by the institution. Doctor’s degree – Professional practice – as defined by the institution.
GED (General Educational Development) This term normally refers to the tests of General Educational Development (GED), which provide an opportunity to earn a high school credential. The GED program, sponsored by the American Council on Education, enables individuals to demonstrate that they have acquired a level of learning comparable to that of high school graduates.
Graduate student A student who holds a bachelor’s degree or above and is taking courses at the post baccalaureate level. These students may or may not be enrolled in graduate programs.
Graduation rate The rate required for disclosure and/or reporting purposes under Student Right-to-Know Act. This rate is calculated as the total number of completers within 150% of normal time divided by the revised adjusted cohort.
Graduation Rates (GR) This annual component of IPEDS was added in 1997 to help institutions satisfy the requirements of the Student Right-to-Know legislation. Data are collected on the number of students entering the institution as full-time, first-time, degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students in a particular year (cohort), by race/ethnicity and gender; the number completing their program within 150 percent of normal time to completion; the number that transfer to other institutions if transfer is part of the institution’s mission. Prior to 2007, institutions who offered athletically-related student aid were asked to report, by sport, the number of students receiving aid and whether they completed within 150 percent of normal time to completion. Now, these institutions only need to report a URL where the athletic data is located on their website, when available. GR automatically generates worksheets that calculate rates, including average rates over 4 years.Board of Trustees Report:
4-Year Graduation Rate is calculated using a full time first time bachelor degree seeking cohort.
6-Year Graduation Rate is calculated using a full time first time degree seeking cohort.Common Data Set:
6-Year Graduation Rate is calculated using a full time first time bachelor degree seeking cohort.
High school diploma or recognized equivalent A document certifying the successful completion of a prescribed secondary school program of studies, or the attainment of satisfactory scores on the GED or another state specified examination.
In-state student A student who is a legal resident of the state in which he/she attends school.
In-state tuition The tuition charged by institutions to those students who meet the state’s or institution’s residency requirements.
Institutional Characteristics (IC) This annual component is the core of the IPEDS system is and is required of all currently operating Title IV postsecondary institutions in the United States and other areas. As the control file for the entire IPEDS system, IC constitutes the sampling frame for all other NCES surveys of postsecondary institutions. It also helps determine the specific IPEDS screens that are shown to each institution. This component collects the basic institutional data that are necessary to sort and analyze not only the IC DATA, but also all other IPEDS DATAs. IC data are collected for the academic year, which generally extends from September of one calendar year to June of the following year. Specific data elements currently collected for each institution include: institution name, address, telephone number, control or affiliation, calendar system, levels of degrees and awards offered, types of programs, application information, student services, and accreditation. The IC component also collects pricing information including tuition and required fees, room and board charges, books and supplies and other expenses for release on College Navigator.
Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), conducted by the NCES, began in 1986 and involves annual institution-level data collections. All postsecondary institutions that have a Program Participation Agreement with the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE), U.S. Department of Education (throughout IPEDS referred to as “Title IV”) are required to report data using a web-based data collection system. IPEDS currently consists of the following components: Institutional Characteristics (IC); 12-month Enrollment (E12);Completions (C); Human Resources (HR) composed of Employees by Assigned Position (EAP), Fall Staff (S),and Salaries (SA); Fall Enrollment (EF); Graduation Rates (GRS); Finance (F); and Student Financial Aid (SFA).
IPEDS Data Center The IPEDS Data Center is the single entry point for retrieving IPEDS data. Using the data center, one can easily download data files for one or more institutions with information from any of the IPEDS components or download complete data files, produce a variety of reports, or create group statistics. The data center replaces the old IPEDS Peer Analysis System and Dataset Cutting Tool, and features improvements in navigation, institution selection, and variable selection, as well as increased on-screen help.
Loans to students Any monies that must be repaid to the lending institution for which the student is the designated borrower. Includes all Title IV subsidized and unsubsidized loans and all institutionally- and privately-sponsored loans. Does not include PLUS and other loans made directly to parents.
Master’s degree An award that requires the successful completion of a program of study of at least the full-time equivalent of 1 but not more than 2 academic years of work beyond the bachelor’s degree.  An award that requires the successful completion of a program of study of at least the full-time equivalent of 1 but not more than 2 academic years of work beyond the bachelor’s degree.
Some of these degrees, such as those in Theology (M.Div., M.H.L./Rav) that were formerly classified as “first-professional”, may require more than two full-time equivalent academic years of work.
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in the Institute of Education Sciences, is the statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Education and the primary federal provider of education statistics on the condition of American education.
Non-degree-seeking student A student enrolled in courses for credit who is not recognized by the institution as seeking a degree or formal award.
Normal time to completion The amount of time necessary for a student to complete all requirements for a degree or certificate according to the institution’s catalog. This is typically 4 years (8 semesters or trimesters, or 12 quarters, excluding summer terms) for a bachelor’s degree in a standard term-based institution; 2 years (4 semesters or trimesters, or 6 quarters, excluding summer terms) for an associate’s degree in a standard term-based institution; and the various scheduled times for certificate programs.
Off-campus (not with family) A living arrangement in which a student does not live with the student’s parents or legal guardians in any housing facility that is not owned or controlled by the educational institution.
Off-campus (with family) A living arrangement in which a student lives with the student’s parents or legal guardians in any housing facility that is not owned or controlled by the educational institution.
Off-campus housing Any housing facility that is occupied by students but is not owned or controlled by the educational institution.
Official fall reporting date The date (in the fall) on which an institution must report fall enrollment data to either the state, its board of trustees or governing board, or some other external governing body.
Part-time student Undergraduate: A student enrolled for either less than 12 semester or quarter credits, or less than 24 contact hours a week each term. Graduate: A student enrolled for less than 9 semester or quarter credits.
Placement services for program completers Assistance for students in evaluating their career alternatives and in obtaining full-time employment upon leaving the institution
Post baccalaureate certificate An award that requires completion of an organized program of study equivalent to 18 semester credit hours beyond the bachelor’s. It is designed for persons who have completed a baccalaureate degree, but does not meet the requirements of a master’s degree.
Postsecondary award, certificate, or diploma (less than 1 academic year) An award that requires completion of an organized program of study at the postsecondary level (below the baccalaureate degree) in less than 1 academic year (2 semesters or 3 quarters), or designed for completion in less than 30 semester or trimester credit hours, or in less than 45 quarter credit hours, or in less than 900 contact or clock hours, by a student enrolled full time.
Public institution An educational institution whose programs and activities are operated by publicly elected or appointed school officials and which is supported primarily by public funds.
Race/ethnicity (new definition) Categories developed in 1997 by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that are used to describe groups to which individuals belong, identify with, or belong in the eyes of the community. The categories do not denote scientific definitions of anthropological origins. The designations are used to categorize U.S. citizens, resident aliens, and other eligible non-citizens.Individuals are asked to first designate ethnicity as:
Hispanic or Latino or
Not Hispanic or LatinoSecond, individuals are asked to indicate all races that apply among the following:

American Indian or Alaska Native
Black or African American
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander

Remedial courses Instructional courses designed for students deficient in the general competencies necessary for a regular postsecondary curriculum and educational setting.
Required fees Fixed sum charged to students for items not covered by tuition and required of such a large proportion of all students that the student who does not pay the charge is an exception.
Residence A person’s permanent address determined by such evidence as a driver’s license or voter registration. For entering freshmen, residence may be the legal residence of a parent or guardian.
Retention rate A measure of the rate at which students persist in their educational program at an institution, expressed as a percentage. For four-year institutions , this is the percentage of first-time bachelors (or equivalent) degree-seeking undergraduates from the previous fall who are again enrolled in the current fall. For all other institutions this is the percentage of first-time degree/certificate-seeking students from the previous fall who either re-enrolled or successfully completed their program by the current fall.
SAT Previously known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, this is an examination administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and used to predict the facility with which an individual will progress in learning college-level academic subjects.
Semester (calendar system) A calendar system that consists of two sessions called semesters during the academic year with about 15 weeks for each semester of instruction. There may be an additional summer session.
Teacher certification program A program designed to prepare students to meet the requirements for certification as teachers in elementary, middle/junior high, and secondary schools.
Tenure Status of a personnel position with respect to permanence of the position.
Tenure track Personnel positions that lead to consideration for tenure
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) The standardized test designed to determine an applicant’s ability to benefit from instruction in English.
Title IV aid Title IV aid to students includes grant aid, work study aid, and loan aid. These include: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG), National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant), Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant, Federal Work-Study, Federal Perkins Loan, Subsidized Direct or FFEL Stafford Loan, and Unsubsidized Direct or FFEL Stafford Loan.
Transcript An official record of student performance showing all schoolwork completed at a given school and the final mark or other evaluation received in each portion of the instruction. Transcripts often include an explanation of the marking scale used by the school.
Transfer of credit The policies and procedures used to determine the extent to which educational experiences or courses undertaken by a student while attending another institution may be counted for credit at the current institution.
Transfer-in student A student entering the reporting institution for the first time but known to have previously attended a postsecondary institution at the same level (e.g., undergraduate, graduate). The student may transfer with or without credit.
Tuition The amount of money charged to students for instructional services. Tuition may be charged per term, per course, or per credit.
Tuition and fees (published charges) The amount of tuition and required fees covering a full academic year most frequently charged to students. These values represent what a typical student would be charged and may not be the same for all students at an institution. If tuition is charged on a per-credit-hour basis, the average full-time credit hour load for an entire academic year is used to estimate average tuition. Required fees include all fixed sum charges that are required of such a large proportion of all students that the student who does not pay the charges is an exception.
Tuition payment plan A program that allows tuition to be paid in installments spread out over an agreed upon period of time, sometimes without interest or finance charges
Unclassified student A student taking courses creditable toward a degree or other formal award who cannot be classified by academic level. For example, this could include a transfer student whose earned credits have not been determined at the time of the fall report.
Undergraduate A student enrolled in a 4- or 5-year bachelor’s degree program, an associate’s degree program, or a vocational or technical program below the baccalaureate.
Minority (URM)
URM is an internal definition used by Purdue for classification purposes in reporting. URM includes any combination of Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Black or African American, Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.
Unduplicated count The sum of students enrolled for credit with each student counted only once during the reporting period, regardless of when the student enrolled.
12-month enrollment (E12) These data were collected in the Enrollment component prior to the 2007 IPEDS collection. Data are collected for the entire 12-month academic year, while enrollment data collected in the Fall Enrollment component are fall data. Institutions report an unduplicated head count for the total number of students by gender, race/ethnicity, and level (undergraduate, graduate, first-professional) enrolled throughout the reporting period. Students included are those enrolled in any courses leading to a degree or other formal award, as well as those enrolled in courses that are part of a terminal vocational or occupational program. Institutions also report the total instructional activity for the same 12-month period for both undergraduate and graduate programs. Instructional activity data are reported in units of contact hours (sometimes referred to as clock hours) or credit hours.
25th percentile The score at or below which 25 percent of students submitting test scores to an institution scored.
75th percentile The score above which 25 percent of students submitting test scores to an institution scored.