Glossary

Data Sources

College Measures™ uses data from the following sources for the calculation and display of all of the metrics on this website.
 

Source

Dataset Name

Reference Academic Year

Beginning Post-Secondary Survey (BPS)

2yr Institution Dropout and Transfer Rates

2003-2004 to 2008-2009

College Board

College board - 0506 to College board -1011

2004-2005 to 2009-2010

Department of Education, Federal Student Aid program
http://www2.ed.gov/offices/OSFAP/defaultmanagement/cdr.html

FY09 PEPS R300 Report; FY08 Official 300 Report

2004-2005 to 2008-2009

Gerald, Danette, and Kati Haycock. 2006. Engines of Inequality: Diminishing Equity in the Nation's Premier Public Universities. Washington, DC: The Education Trust.

n/a. Book identifies flagship universities

2006

Payscale

Median starting pay for graduates from 4-year and 2-year institutions.

4-year dataset: 2007-2011 
2-year dataset: 2010-2011

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

C2011_A:  Awards/degrees conferred by program (6-digit CIP code), award level, race/ethnicity, and gender

2003-2004 to 2010-2011*

IntegratedPostsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

EF2010D: Total entering class, retention rates, and student-to-faculty ratio: Fall

2003-2004 to 2010-2011*

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

EF2010A:  Race/ethnicity, gender, attendance status, and level of student: Fall 2010

2008-2009to 2010-2011*

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

F1011_F1A: Public institutions - GASB 34/35: Fiscal year 2011

2003-2004 to 2010-2011*

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

F1011_F2: Private not-for-profit institutions or Public institutions using FASB: Fiscal year 2011

2003-2004 to 2010-2011*

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

F1011_F3:  Private for-profit institutions: Fiscal year 2011

2003-2004 to 2010-2011*

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

GR2011:  Graduation rate data, 150% of normal time to complete - cohort year 2005 (4-year) and cohort year 2008 (2-year) institutions

2003-2004 to 2010-2011*

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

HD2010:  Directory information

2008-2009 to 2010-2011*

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

IC2010:  Educational offerings, organization, admissions, services and athletic associations

2003-2004 to 2010-2011*

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

IC2010_AY:  Student charges for academic year programs

2003-2004 to 2010-2011*

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

S2010_ABD:  Employees by primary occupation, salary categories, race/ethnicity, and gender (Degree-granting institutions with 15 or more full-time employees): Fall 2010

2008-2009 to 2010-2011*

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

SFA1011:  Student financial aid and net price

2003-2004 to 2010-2011*

*Where available, revised versions of 2009 and 2010 IPEDS survey data have been used

Data Definitions

Completion and Progression Rates

Graduation Rate

Grand total of students in a degree-seeking subcohort who earn degrees, within 150% of normal time to complete, divided by grand total of students in the same subcohort minus exclusions. (Exclusions: students from the subcohort who left the institution for any of the following reasons: died or were totally and permanently disabled; to serve in the armed forces; to serve with a foreign aid service of the Federal Government, such as the Peace Corps; or to serve on official church missions.)
 
Four-year institution graduation cohorts are based on the bachelor’s or equivalent degree seeking entering class of 6 years prior. For example, the four-year institution graduation rates for the 2010 are based on the entering class of 2004. Two-year institution graduation cohorts are based on the entering class of 3 years prior. For example, the two-year institution graduation rates for the 2010 are based on the entering class of 2007.

Retention Rate

The full-time retention rate is the percent of the fall full-time cohort from the prior year (minus exclusions from the fall full-time cohort) that re-enrolled at the institution as either full- or part-time in the current year.
 
For 2-year institutions, the percent of the full-time adjusted cohort from the prior year minus the number of students who dropped out (using both IPEDS and the Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS) Longitudinal Study). Because IPEDS does not count students that transfer as part of their “retained” students, we adjust the retention rate by taking the number of non-retained students from IPEDS and applying a ratio from BPS that measures what percent of non-retained students truly drop out, rather than transfer. Note that the adjusted cohort is the number of full-time students minus exclusions. The calculation for the 2-year institutions is as follows:
(FTpy – ((FTpy – Recy)*DO)) / FTpy
 
FTpy = Number of students in the prior year full-time adjusted cohort
REcy = Number of students who re-enrolled in the current year
DO = first-year dropout vs. transfer rate from BPS

Attrition Rate

The percent of students (fall full-time cohort from the prior year minus exclusions from the fall full-time cohort) that did not re-enroll at the institution as either full- or part-time in the current year, calculated as one minus the full-time retention rate as defined above.

Transfer Rate

Total number of students who are known to have transferred out of the reporting institution within 150% of normal time to completion divided by the adjusted cohort, this is only presented for 2 year institutions.

Completions per 100 FTE

Inspired by work done by the Aspen Institute as part of their “College Excellence Program,” this metric weights completions at 2-year schools and divides them by 100 FTE. Certificates of between one and two years are given a weight of .5, while certificates of 2-4 years and associate’s degrees are given a weight of 1.

Costs

Our methodology for costs borrows heavily from the methodology developed by the Delta Cost Project, available at www.deltacostproject.org.
Institutions may report their financial information in one of the three following IPEDS tables:
  • F1011_F1A: Public institutions - GASB 34/35: Fiscal year 2011
  • F1011_F2: Private not-for-profit institutions or Public institutions using FASB: Fiscal year 2011
  • F1011_F3: Private for-profit institutions: Fiscal year 2011
In a few cases, institutions may report their sector differently from the table they use to report their financial data. Note that cost measures are not reported the same in each of the IPEDS financial tables. For example, in the Private for-profit finance table, academic support, institutional support, and student services are aggregated into one variable. In the other two financial tables, these measures are reported individually.
 
In this version of the College Measures™ website, the following institutions reported their sector as “4-year, Private for-profit”, but reported their financial information in the Private not-for-profit finance table.
 
(IPEDS Unit ID) Institution Name
  • (135081) Keiser University-Ft. Lauderdale
  • (440271) Remington College-Baton Rouge
  • (375416) Remington College-Cleveland Campus
  • (444121) Remington College-Cleveland West Campus
  • (223463) Remington College-Dallas Campus
  • (377111) Remington College-Fort Worth Campus
  • (380094) Remington College-Houston Campus
  • (160524) Remington College-Lafayette Campus
  • (438869) Remington College-Little Rock Campus
  • (445249) Remington College-Nashville Campus
  • (445203) Remington College-North Houston Campus
 
Additionally Cogswell Polytechnical College (ID: 112394) reported its sector as “4-year, Private, not-for-profit”, but reported its financial information in the Private for-profit finance table. Because cost measures are not reported the same in each of the IPEDS financial tables, the cost measures for these schools are not calculated correctly.

Cost per Student

Total spending on direct educational costs divided by the total full-time-equivalent students. Note that national level data is calculated from the raw cost components rather than by averaging across institutional types. As such the national-level data for total cost per student (FTE) will not be the sum of each individual cost component.

Cost per Degree

A measure of spending on direct educational costs per degree (in contrast to cost per student enrolled); education and related expenses (for all students) are divided by all degrees awarded in the same year.

Cost per Completion

A measure of spending on direct educational costs per completion (in contrast to cost per student enrolled); education and related expenses (for all students) are divided by all completions awarded in the same year. Note that completions are calculated by summing degrees and certificates. Certificates of between one and two years are given a weight of .5, while certificates of 2-4 years and associate’s degrees are given a weight of 1.

Cost of Attrition

The amount of money spent to fund the education of first-time, full-time students who don't return for a second year. This is calculated by multiplying the total size of a cohort of first-time, full-time students by the Attrition Rate, to find the number of students who have dropped out, and then multiplying that by Education and Related Costs per student.

Education and Related Costs

Total spending on direct educational costs. Education and related expenses includes spending on instruction, student services, and the education share of spending on central academic and administrative support, and operations and maintenance. The sum of education and related expenses, research and related expenses, public service and related expenses, and scholarships and fellowships totals to education and general expenses.

Instruction Costs

A functional expense category that includes expenses of the colleges, schools, departments, and other instructional divisions of the institution and expenses for departmental research and public service that are not separately budgeted. Includes general academic instruction, occupational and vocational instruction, community education, preparatory and adult basic education, and regular, special, and extension sessions. Also includes expenses for both credit and non-credit activities. Excludes expenses for academic administration where the primary function is administration (e.g., academic deans). Information technology expenses related to instructional activities are included if the institution separately budgets and expenses information technology resources (otherwise these expenses are included in academic support). Operations and maintenance and interest amounts attributed to the instruction function have been subtracted from the total instructional expenditure amount at FASB reporting institutions. Operations and maintenance amounts attributed to the instruction function have been subtracted from the total amount at public, aligned form-reporting institutions.

Student Services Costs

A functional expense category that includes expenses for admissions, registrar activities, and activities whose primary purpose is to contribute to students emotional and physical well-being and to their intellectual, cultural, and social development outside the context of the formal instructional program. Examples include student activities, cultural events, student newspapers, intramural athletics, student organizations, supplemental instruction outside the normal administration, and student records. Intercollegiate athletics and student health services may also be included except when operated as self - supporting auxiliary enterprises. Also may include information technology expenses related to student service activities if the institution separately budgets and expenses information technology resources (otherwise these expenses are included in institutional support). Operations and maintenance and interest amounts attributed to the student sevices function have been subtracted from the total student services expenditure amount at FASB reporting institutions. Operations and maintenance amounts attributed to the student services function have been subtracted from the total student services expenditure amount at public Aligned Form reporting institutions.

Academic Support Costs

A functional expense category that includes expenses of activities and services that support the institution's primary missions of instruction, research, and public service. It includes the retention, preservation, and display of educational materials (for example, libraries, museums, and galleries); organized activities that provide support services to the academic functions of the institution (such as a demonstration school associated with a college of education or veterinary and dental clinics if their primary purpose is to support the instructional program); media such as audiovisual services; academic administration (including academic deans but not department chairpersons); and formally organized and separately budgeted academic personnel development and course and curriculum development expenses. Also included are information technology expenses related to academic support activities; if an institution does not separately budget and expense information technology resources, the costs associated with the three primary programs will be applied to this function and the remainder to institutional support. Operations and maintenance and interest amounts attributed to the academic support function have been subtracted from the total academic support expenditure amount at FASB reporting institutions. Operations and maintenance amounts attributed to the academic support function have been subtracted from the total academic support expenditure amount at public Aligned Form reporting institutions.

Operations & Maintenance Costs

A functional expense category that includes expenses for operations established to provide service and maintenance related to campus grounds and facilities used for educational and general purposes.

Institutional Support Costs

A functional expense category that includes expenses for the day-to-day operational support of the institution. Includes expenses for general administrative services, central executive-level activities concerned with management and long range planning, legal and fiscal operations, space management, employee personnel and records, logistical services such as purchasing and printing, and public relations and development. Also includes information technology expenses related to institutional support activities. Operations and maintenance and interest amounts attributed to the institutional support function have been subtracted from the total institutional support expenditure amount at FASB reporting institutions. Operations and maintenance amounts attributed to the institutional support function have been subtracted from the total institutional support expenditure amount at public Aligned Form reporting institutions.

Salary to Cost Ratio

A cost ratio that measures examines the relationship between Completions per 100 FTE students and the Early Career Median pay for graduates of the institution. Users can use the Early Career Salary to Cost Ratio tool to examine how this cost ratio changes when the values for total education and related expenses and/or completions per 100 FTE students are changed.

Salary & Debt

Student Loan Default Rate

The percentage of borrowers whose first loan repayments came due between October 1 of one year and September 30 of the next year, and who defaulted before September 30 of the following year. For example, the student loan default rate for the 2009 represents the percentage of borrowers whose first loan repayments came due between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009, and who defaulted before September 30, 2010.

Average Debt per Recent Graduate

The average per-undergraduate-borrower cumulative principal borrowed of those in the class (for 2009-2010 data, those who started at the institution as first- time students and received a bachelor's degree between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009) who borrowed at any time through any loan programs (institutional, state, Federal Perkins, Federal Stafford Subsidized and Unsubsidized, private loans that were certified by the institution, etc.; exclude parent loans) multiplied by the percentage of the class who borrowed at any time through any loan programs (institutional, state, Federal Perkins, Federal Stafford Subsidized and Unsubsidized, private loans that were certified by the institution, etc.; excluding parent loans) and divided by 100.

Median Starting Pay for Recent Graduates

Half of the starting employees who are graduates of a school, are full-time employees with 5 years of experience or less in their career or field who hold a bachelor's degree and no higher degrees, will earn more than this salary, while half will earn less.

Early Career Median Pay

Half of the starting employees who are graduates of a school, are full-time employees with 5 years of experience or less in their career or field who hold a bachelor's degree and no higher degrees, will earn more than this salary, while half will earn less.

Ratio of Student Loan Payments to Earnings

Student loan payments are the sum of twelve of the monthly payments that would be needed to repay the average debt per recent graduate, assuming a 6.8% interest rate and equal monthly payments across a ten year period. The resulting figure is then divided by the median starting pay figure to derive the ratio of student loan payments to earnings.

Institution Types

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.

Private Not-For-Profit Institution

A private institution in which the individual(s) or agency in control receives no compensation, other than wages, rent, or other expenses for the assumption of risk. These include both independent not-for-profit schools and those affiliated with a religious organization.

Private For-Profit Institution

A private institution in which the individual(s) or agency in control receives compensation other than wages, rent, or other expenses for the assumption of risk.

Carnegie Classification

The Carnegie Classification System includes all colleges and universities in the United States that are degree-granting and accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. The 2000 edition classifies institutions based on their degree-granting activities from 1995-96 through 1997-98.

Historically Black College/University

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, defines an HBCU as: "...any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans, and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary [of Education] to be a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered or is, according to such an agency or association, making reasonable progress toward accreditation." Federal regulations (20 USC 1061 (2)) allow for certain exceptions to the founding date.

Hispanic Service Institution

The Higher Education Act, 20 USCA Section 1101a defines a Hispanic-serving institution as an institution of higher education that (a) is an eligible institution; (b) at the time of application, has an enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent students that is at least 25 percent Hispanic students; and (c) provides assurances that not less than 50 percent of the institution's Hispanic students are low-income individuals.

Land Grant College Institution

A land-grant college or university is an institution that has been designated by its state legislature or Congress to receive the benefits of the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890. The original mission of these institutions, as set forth in the first Morrill Act, was to teach agriculture, military tactics, and the mechanic arts as well as classical studies so that members of the working classes could obtain a liberal, practical education.

Flagship Campus

Flagship can indicate either the oldest campus in a public state higher education system, or it can mean any of the larger and better-known campuses. Each state only has one flagship institution.

Institutions with Transfers as Part of Their Mission

Institutions for which the substantial preparation of students for transfer to another institution is part of their mission are required to report the number of students who transfer out to IPEDS. However, there is no clear definition this key term, leaving institutions to decide for themselves whether this is part of their mission.

Institution Size

Annual Budget

Total revenue including revenue from auxiliary, hospitals, and other independent operations. Includes the sum of tuition; federal, state, and local appropriations, grants, and contracts; affiliated entities, private gifts, grants, and contracts; investment return; endowment earnings; auxiliaries; hospitals; and other independent operations.

Total Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Students

Full-time equivalent enrollments are derived from the enrollment by race/ethnicity section of the fall enrollment survey. The full-time equivalent of an institution's part-time enrollment is estimated by multiplying part-time enrollment by factors that vary by control and level of institution and level of student; the estimated full-time equivalent of part-time enrollment is then added to the full-time enrollment of the institution. This formula is used by the U.S. Department of Education to produce the full-time equivalent enrollment data published annually in the Digest of Education Statistics.

Total Employees

Total number of staff, both full-time and part-time, as counted by the institution.

Total 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.

Degrees

Associate's Degree

An award that normally requires at least 2 but less than 4 years of full-time equivalent college work.

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 plan) program.

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.

Doctorate Degree

The highest award a student can earn for graduate study. The doctor's degree classification includes such degrees as Doctor of Education, Doctor of Juridical Science, Doctor of Public Health, and the Doctor of Philosophy degree in any field such as agronomy, food technology, education, engineering, public administration, ophthalmology, or radiology.

First Professional Degrees

An award that requires completion of a program that meets all of the following criteria: (1) completion of the academic requirements to begin practice in the profession; (2) at least 2 years of college work prior to entering the program; and (3) a total of at least 6 academic years of college work to complete the degree program, including prior required college work plus the length of the professional program itself. First-professional degrees may be awarded in the following 10 fields: Chiropractic, Dentistry, Law, Medicine, Optometry, Osteopathic Medicine, Pharmacy, Podiatry, Theology, and Veterinary Medicine.

Total Degrees

An award conferred by a college, university, or other postsecondary education institution as official recognition for the successful completion of a program of studies.

Awards

Awards that requires completion of an organized program of study of less than 4 years.

Certificates

A formal award certifying the satisfactory completion of a postsecondary education program.

Total Completions

This annual component of IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) 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.

Tuition, Grants & Revenues

In-State Tuition

The tuition charged by institutions to those students who meet the state's or institution's residency requirements.

Out-of-State Tuition

The tuition charged by institutions to those students who do not meet the institution's or state's residency requirements.

Billed Tuition and Fees (at “Sticker Price”)

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.

Net Tuition and Fees

Average tuition and fees paid by the student, calculated by taking the billed tuition and fees and subtracting all federal, state / local, and institutional grants.

Federal Government Grants

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, including the Veteran's Administration, Department of Labor, and other federal agencies.

State / Local Government Grants

State and local government grants - State and local monies awarded to the institution under state and local student aid programs, including the state portion of State Student Incentives Grants (SSIG).

Institution Grants

Scholarships and fellowships granted and funded by the institution and/or individual departments within the institution, (i.e., instruction, research, public service) that may contribute indirectly to the enhancement of these programs. Includes scholarships targeted to certain individuals (e.g., based on state of residence, major field of study, athletic team participation) for which the institution designates the recipient.

State Government Appropriated Subsidy

State appropriations are amounts received by the institution through acts of a state legislative body, except grants and contracts and capital appropriations. Funds reported in this category are for meeting current operating expenses, not for specific projects or programs.

Admissions and Student Profile

Open Admissions

Admission policy whereby the school will accept any student who applies.

Admission Rate

The number of first-time, degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students who applied and were admitted (full or part time) at the institution for the most recent fall period available, divided by the number of students from the same subcohort who applied. This is applicable to institutions that have no open admission policy for entering first-time undergraduate students.