Glossary of Terms

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CIP Code
The Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) provides a taxonomic scheme that supports the accurate tracking and reporting of fields of study and program completions activity. CIP was originally developed by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in 1980, with revisions occurring in 1985, 1990, and 2000. See the National Center for Education Statistics' CIP website for further information. 
Generally refers to new students admitted with a freshmen admit type. For reporting to IPEDS and most external offices, the cohort is the number of incoming first-time full-time first-year degree-seeking students in the Fall term and may include Fall students who enrolled as such in the preceding summer term. The cohort is often bifurcated into full-time (12 or more attempted credits) or part-time (less than 12 attempted credits). Beginning in 2016-2017, the IPEDS cohorts include 8 subcohorts based on full-time/part-time, Pell/No Pell, Subsidized Loan/No Subsidized Loan, and First-Time/Non-First Time (which includes transfers). These subcohorts are evident in the IPEDS Outcomes Survey.

Credit Hour
The unit of measure for which a student enrolls. Many courses, but not all, are worth 3 credits. Credit Hour reports should specify whether the credit hours refer to main campus (state-funded instruction) or extended studies (cash-funded instruction) or both. External reporting for IPEDS and SURDS includes both types of credit hours attempted by students. Credit Hours may be further differentiated into taken units, earned units, and transfer units.
Degree-Seeking Status
A status tied to a student through his/her academic plan. Degree-seeking plans include those that award a degree (bachelor's, master's, or doctorate), all gainful employment certificates, and all undergraduate plans except those specified as non-degree. Undecided, pre-professional, and university studies plans are considered degree-seeking. High school concurrent student plans are not degree-seeking plans.

Digital Measures
A purchased software program used by faculty to record their scholarly activities. The Institutional Research Office purchased the software in 2015 and maintains the program for Academic Affairs.

As of 2010, race/ethnicity categories were changed in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget's Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity which was posted to the Federal Register by the U.S. Department of Education. New reporting categories include the following: Nonresident Alien, Hispanic, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, White, and Two or More Races. Per the guidelines, an individual without U.S. citizenship and carrying a temporary visa will be categorized as a Nonresident Alien regardless of other race/ethnicity selections. An individual self-identifying as Hispanic will be categorized as Hispanic regardless of other race/ethnicity selections. And individual self-identifying as any combination among American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, or White will be categorized as Two Plus. Note that the Two Plus category does not include Nonresident Alien or Hispanic.

First Generation Student
Defined as a student who reports that the highest level of his/her parent(s) or legal guardian is (a) not missing and (b) less than a four-year degree. A student with at lease one parent or legal guardian who has earned a four-year degree is not a first generation student. When information about the highest education level of a parent is missing, the student is not considered a first generation student.
FTE or Full Time Equivalency is applied to students and employees in a variety of ways. The Colorado Department of Higher Education calculates Student FTE as the sum of credit hours taken divided by 30 for undergraduates or divided by 24 for graduate-level students. This measure assumes that a full-time undergraduate student takes 15 credit hours per term or 30 credit hours per year. For IPEDS reports, Student FTE is calculated as the number of full-time students plus 1/3 of the number of part-time students (with part-time defined as <12 hours for undergrads or <9 hours for graduate students). For employees, FTE generally refers to the full-time percent of the job (and most positions are benefits-eligible at 50%).
Graduation Rate
The graduate rate as reported to IPEDS is the most commonly understood and wide used definition. It is the percentage of the first-time full-time degree-seeking cohort who earn a baccalaureate degree within 6 years (or 150% of normal time which is 4 years). IPEDS graduation rates are also calculated at the 8-year mark which is called the 200% Graduation Rate. IPEDS graduation rates may exclude students who died, were permanently disabled, deployed on active duty, or left for a mission.
IPEDS is the abbreviation for the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. It is a system of interrelated surveys conducted annually by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). IPEDS gathers information from every college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs. The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, requires that institutions that participate in federal student aid programs report data on enrollments, program completions, graduation rates, faculty and staff, finances, institutional prices, and student financial aid. These data are made available to students and parents through the College Navigator college search Web site and to researchers and others through the IPEDS Data Center. See more at
The Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) is provided by the Department of Education to institutions; it contains information reported through the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and NSLDS (National Student Loan Data System). For more information see the ISIR Guide. Institutional Research uses ISIR data to validate certain student characteristics like first-generation status.
Pell Grant
The Pell Grant is awarded to low-income undergraduate students. The amount of the award varies every year; the maximum for 2016-2017 is $5,815 per award year. Receipt of a Pell Grant is often used as a proxy to determine the number or percentage of students who are low-income. 

The CU-SIS term used to identify a student's academic plan. The plan may be a major, minor, course of study, certificate, licensure, or additional major. Some plans are further differentiated by subplans that refer to a variety of options or tracks that are subsumed under the larger plan. The student's combination of career, program, plan, and subplan over time is often referred to as his or her plan stack. The plan is particularly important because it partially determines a student's tuition rate and financial aid eligibility.
Retention Rate
The retention rate refers to the number of students in the cohort (see above) who enroll one year later in the following fall term. When alternative groups of students or measures are used, the outcome should be referred to as a persistence rate.
SAT Concordance Tables
In March of 2016, the College Board began administering a redesigned SAT exam resulting in new components and new scores. The redesigned total score is on the same scale (400-1600) with sections for Math (200-800) and Evidence-Based Reading & Writing (200-800), but scores from the redesigned SAT do not equate to scores on the current SAT.  Use the SAT Concordance Tables to convert between current and redesigned SAT scores.
An abbreviation for the Student Unit Record Data System managed by the Colorado Department of Higher Education. It is a series of interrelated data collections of student data that include individual student records (unlike IPEDS which only collects aggregated data). SURDS collects student data through several files: Enrollment, Undergraduate Applicant, Degrees Granted, Course Enrollment, Financial Aid, and Educator Preparation. Further documentation is available at

Tuition Residency & Exception
Tuition Residency is one of several combinations of a student's residency and tuition rate that is stored in CU-SIS. It tells us whether a student is charged a resident, non-resident, or extended studies tuition rate. The Tuition Residency Exception code provides further specification as to whether a student is charged an excepted rate (which is usually mandated by Colorado statute). Exceptions include but are not limited to: U.S. or Canadian military personnel and dependents, veterans and dependents, Olympic training center athletes, Western Regional Graduate Program students, Western Undergraduate Exchange students, and exchange program students.

Unduplicated Enrollment
A term used to indicate that a total count of students is counting each student only once. For example, a count of enrolled students across two semesters is unduplicated if the students enrolled in both semesters are counted one time each.