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Code # Institutional Research Terms Definition



American Association of University Professors


Academic Rank or Faculty Rank

A state-wide categorization of faculty positions. Categories include, but are not limited to: Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, and Instructor.


Acceptance Rate

Acceptance Rate is the "application-to-admit ratio," or the number of students admitted compared to the number of students who applied. In other words, it is a percentage, such as 34 percent admitted. The lower the percentage, the more selective the school is. The degree of selectivity at a school can change from year   to year, depending on the number of students applying for admission and the number of slots the college has available


African American or Black

A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa (except those of Hispanic origin).



Association for Institutional Research


American Indian or Alaska Native

A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintains a tribal affiliation or community attachment.


Asian or Pacific Islander

A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, or Pacific Islands. This includes people from China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, American Samoa, India, and Vietnam.


AY (Academic Year)

Two full semesters, starting in the fall and continuing into the spring OR 3-4 terms or qtrs of 10 wks.


Carnegie Classification

The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education is a framework for classifying colleges and universities in the United States. The framework primary serves educational and research purposes, where it is often important to identify groups of roughly comparable institutions. The classification includes all accredited, degree-granting colleges and universities in the United States that are represented in the  National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)


CDS (Common Data Set)

The CDS is a set of standards and definitions of data items rather than a survey instrument or set of data represented in a database. Common Data Set items undergo broad review by the CDS Advisory Board as well as by data providers representing secondary schools and two- and four-year colleges.


Census Date

Date of enrollment file snapshots, first day of term, second week of term, sixth week of term (official) and end of term


CIP (Classification of Instructional Programs)

Taxonomic scheme that supports the accurate tracking and reporting of fields of study and program completions activity. CIP was originally developed by the US Dept of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in 1980



A specific group of students established for tracking purposes (ie, retention, graduation rates)



Recognition of attendance or performance in an instructional activity (course or program)that can be applied by a recipient toward the requirements for a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award.


Credit Course

A course that, if successfully completed, can be applied toward the number of courses required for achieving a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award.


Credit Hour

A unit counted toward completion of an academic program. Each course is worth a number of credit hours (also known as "credits"). The number of credit hours reflects the number of hours a student spends in class for that course per week.


Degree Seeking Student

Students enrolled in courses for credit who are recognized by the institution as seeking a degree or other formal award.


Dual enrollment

A program through which high school students may enroll in college courses while still enrolled in high school.



Funds whose principal is nonexpendable (true endowment) and that are intended to be invested to provide earnings for institutional use



Registration for coursework and payment of fees constitutes official enrollment.



The outflow or other using up of assets or incurrence of liabilities (or a combination of both) from delivering or producing goods, rendering services, or carrying out other activities that constitute the institution's ongoing major or central operations or in generating revenues. Alternatively, expenses may be thought of as the costs of goods and services used to produce the educational services provided by the institution. Expenses result in a reduction of net assets.



A person appointed to a position defined by a college or university. Categories include Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, and Instructor, and may include such non-instructional staff such as Counselor/Advisors, and Librarians.


First-Professional Student

Those students enrolled in programs leading toward a first-professional degree in the fields of dentistry (D.D.S.,D.M.D.), law (L.L.B.,J.D.), medicine (M.D.), pharmacy (B.Pharm, Pharm.D.) and veterinary medicine (D.V.M.).


First-time, first-year (freshman) student

A student attending any institution for the first time at the undergraduate level. Includes students enrolled in the fall term who attended college for the first time in the prior summer term. Also includes students who entered with advanced standing (college credits earned before graduation from high school).


Fiscal Year

A twelve-month period running from July 1st through the following June 30th.


Five-Year Program

A program offered by an institution that is defined in the catalog as requiring a student to take courses over a 5-year period in order to attain a bachelor's degree. These include, but are not limited to, 5-year cooperative programs which alternate class attendance with employment.


FTE (full-time Equivalent)

The full-time equivalent (FTE) of students is a single value providing a meaningful combination of full time and part time students.


Full Time Student

A full time student is a student who takes at least 12 credit hours (undergraduate) or 9 credit hours (graduate) in a specific semester/term.


Full-Time Graduate Student

A student enrolled for 9 or more semester credits or 9 or more quarter credits or students involved in thesis or dissertation preparation who are considered full-time by the institution.


Graduate Student

A student who holds a bachelor's or first-professional degree, or equivalent, is taking courses at the post baccalaureate level, and is admitted to a graduate or first-professional program.


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.


Head Count

Count of individuals (e.g., students, staff, faculty)


HEDS (Higher Education Data Sharing)

HEDS assists member institutions in their planning, management, and institutional research, by assembling and sharing information.


HERI (Higher Education Research Institute)

HERI serves as an interdisciplinary center for research, evaluation, information, policy studies, and research training in postsecondary education.



A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central, or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.


In-State Student

A student who is a legal resident of the state in which he/she attends school.


IPEDS  (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System)

Institutional-level data collections began in 1986 by the NCES.  All post-secondary institutions that have a Program Participation Agreement with the Office of Postsecondary Education, US Department of Education (referred to as "Title IV") are required to report data using a web-based data collection system.  IPEDS currently consists of the following components: Insitutional Characteristics; 12-month enrollment; Completions; Human Resources composed of Employees by Assigned Position, fall Staff, and Salaries; fall enrollment; Graduation Rates; Finance; and Student financial Aid.


IR (Institutional Research)

IR professionals support campus leaders and policy makers in wise planning, programming, and fiscal  decisions covering a broad range of institutional responsibilities. These areas can include research support to senior academic leaders, admissions, financial aid, curriculum, enrollment management, staffing, student life, finance, facilities, athletics, alumni relations and many others.



A student whose relative has attended, or is attending, this university (grandparent, mother, father, sibling, aunt, uncle, husband, wife, cousin, or child).


Level of Student

The student's level of progress toward a degree. Freshmen and Sophomore students are categorized as   Lower Level; Junior and Senior students are categorized as Upper Level; Graduate students are categorized as Graduate Level.



Students are classified as majors according to their selection of a primary field of study. This field must be selected from approved programs within each degree program.



The mean (or average) is the most popular and well known measure of central tendency.  The mean is equal to the sum of all the values in the data set divided by the number of values in the data set.



The median is the middle value for a set of data that has been arranged in order of magnitude.


Mid 50% Range

The lowest score in the second quartile to the highest score in the third quartile. (25th - 75th percentile) It is an indicator of the most common values.



The mode is the most frequent value in a data set.



National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities


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.



National Collegiate Athletic Association


NCES (National Center for Education Statistics)

National Center for Education Statistics


Non-Degree Seeking

A student enrolled in courses for credit who is not recognized by the institution as seeking a degree or formal award.


Non-Tenure Earning

Those non-tenured faculty whose position does not provide for the possibility of attaining tenure.



Non-Resident Alien



National Science Foundation


NSSE (National Survey of Student Engagement)

The National Survey of Student Education annually collects information at hundreds of four-year colleges and universities about student participation in programs and activities that institutions provide for their learning and personal development. The results provide an estimate of how undergraduates spend their time and what they gain from attending college.


Out-of-State Student

A student who is not a legal resident of the state in which he/she attends school.


Quarter (calendar system)

A calendar system in which the academic year consists of 3 sessions called quarters of about 12 weeks each. The range may be from 10 to 15 weeks as defined by the institution. There may be an additional quarter in the summer.



Categories 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. A person may be counted in only one group. The groups used to categorize U.S. citizens, resident aliens, and other eligible noncitizens are: - Black, non-Hispanic - American Indian or Alaska Native - Asian or Pacific Islander - Hispanic - White, non-Hispanic


Resident Alien (and other eligible noncitizens)

A person who is not a citizen or national of the United States and who has been admitted as a legal immigrant for the purpose of obtaining permanent resident alien status (and who holds either an alien registration card (Form 1-551 or 1-151), a Temporary Resident Card (Form 1-688), or an Arrival-Departure Records (Form 1-94) with a notation that conveys legal immigrant status such as Section 207 Refugee, Section 208 Asylee, Conditional Entrant Parolee or Cuban-Haitian).


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.



The inflow of resources or other enhancement of net assets (or fund balance) of an institution or settlements of its liabilities (or a combination of both) from delivering or producing goods, rendering services, or other activities that constitute the institution's ongoing major or central operations. Includes revenues from fees and charges, appropriations, auxiliary enterprises, and contributions and other nonexchange transactions. Revenues are reported net of discounts and allowances (that is, the revenue reported is reduced by the amount of discounts and allowances) for FASB institutions and for GASB institutions that have implemented GASB Statement No. 34.



University employees who are employed full-time and are not classified as faculty.


State of Residence

A person's permanent address as determined by such evidence as a driver's license or voter registration. For entering freshmen, residence may be the legal resident of a parent or guardian.



That condition attained by a faculty member through highly competent scholarly activities which assures the faculty member security of employment and immunity from reprisals or threats due to an intellectual position or belief which may be unpopular and which guarantees annual reappointment for the faculty member until voluntary resignation, retirement, or removal for adequate cause.


Total Student Credit Hours (SCH)

Total credit hours taken by a student.


Transfer Student

An undergraduate student newly enrolled at Drexel University who was previously enrolled in a postsecondary degree program at another institution.



A report that presents comparative information about enrollment and student characteristics, faculty and staff, etc. over a period of time.



A fundamental unit of data contained in a file which is given a unique label.


White, non-Hispanic

A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East (except those of Hispanic origin).


Yield Rate

The percentage of admitted students who accept the offer of enrollment.