Institutional Effectiveness & Research

Institutional Research Reporting Glossary


A-Z Index

Any geographic location not in the aggregate United States, which includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the other areas. Source: IPEDS

Academic Advising
A meeting between a student and an advisor to discuss the student’s academic plan of study, course selections prior to registration, and/or career plans.

Academic Calendar
An official list of dates and deadlines found at the beginning of this Catalog and on the website for the Office of the Registrar. The academic calendar specifies the dates for semesters and terms, enrollment periods, examination periods, holidays, periods classes are not in session, and commencement.

Academic Career
The period during which a student is working at an institution toward completion of one or more degrees.

Academic Discipline
A subject area of study (e.g., English, marketing, psychology).

Academic Petition
An electronic form by which students request to be granted an academic exception because their extenuating circumstances prevent them from following established rules, policies, and procedures.

Academic Probation
A status resulting from unsatisfactory academic work; a warning that the student must improve academic performance or be dismissed after a specific period.

Academic Program
An instructional program leading toward an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctor’s, or first-professional degree or resulting in credits that can be applied to one of these degrees. Source: IPEDS

Academic Program Review
Academic program review is the process through which Northern Arizona University regularly reviews, evaluates, and establishes plans for all undergraduate and graduate programs. A program review consists of a self-study conducted by the faculty and program leadership, followed by a review by a team of external consultants and a member of the university faculty. Program reviews are generally conducted every seven years. Institutional Research and Analysis provides reports in support of the academic program review process.

Academic Unit
An organization under which courses and plans are grouped, in most cases a department.

Academic Year
The period generally extending from September to June; usually equated to 2 semesters or trimesters, 3 quarters, or the period covered by a 4-1-4 calendar system. Source: IPEDS

Academic Record
Official transcript.

Academic Standing
The scholastic standing of a student based on his/her grade point average (GPA).

Ensuring equal opportunity for education, particularly for students from historically underrepresented populations and students with disabilities.

Disability Services counselors meet with qualified students to determine and provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations that support the student’s educational goals.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). SACSCOC is the recognized accrediting body in the eleven U.S. Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) and in Latin America for those institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral degrees. Accreditation is certification that an institute of higher education meets a set of criteria established by SACSCOC.

A test published by American College Testing which measures a student’s aptitude in mathematical and verbal comprehension and problem solving. Many colleges and universities, require students to take this test and submit their test scores when they apply for admission.

A designated time period at the beginning of each semester when a student may add or drop a course without penalty. At Rowan-Cabarrus, the Add/Drop period runs through the 6th business day of the Fall and Spring semesters and through the 2nd business day for Summer full and half terms.

Advanced Placement (AP)
Standardized courses administered by The College Board offered in high school, the completion of which may result in credit for some of the courses normally required for an undergraduate degree. Awarding of credit based on AP is granted to a student based on prior study or experience (usually indicated by the student’s performance on the AP examination).

Alumna/Alumnus (Alumni)
A female/male (group) who attended or graduated from a particular college or university.

Articulation Agreement
A written agreement listing courses at one educational institution that are equivalent to courses at another educational institution. Articulation agreements facilitate the smooth transition of students through the secondary, community college, and university educational systems.

Associate’s Degree
A degree traditionally awarded by community or junior colleges after two years of study, or completion of 60 to 64 credit hours.

Attempted Hours
The credits received from courses completed at Rowan-Cabarrus, regardless of grade earned, courses from which students withdrew (W or WE), and courses that were repeated (even if additional credit was not earned).

Enrolling in a course on an audit basis means the course will not count for credit or impact GPA. In some cases, the audit fee is less than the tuition rate. Registration for audit often requires the permission of the instructor.

Auditory learner
Learns through listening; these students learn best through verbal lectures, discussions, talking things through, and listening to what others have to say. Auditory learners interpret the underlying meanings of speech through listening to tone of voice, pitch, speed and other nuances. Written information may have little meaning until it is heard. These learners often benefit from reading text aloud.

Accrediting Agencies
Organizations (or bodies) that establish operating standards for educational or professional institutions and programs, determine the extent to which the standards are met, and publicly announce their findings. Source: IPEDS

Status of a student who has completed the admission process and can be made eligible to enroll in classes.

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. Source: 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. Source: IPEDS

Administrative Unit
The system or central office in a multi-campus environment. Source: IPEDS

Admissions (Students Admitted)
Applicants that have been granted an official offer to enroll in a postsecondary institution. Source: IPEDS

Admissions Test Scores
Scores on standardized admissions tests or special admissions tests. Source: IPEDS

Adult Basic Education
Courses designed primarily for students 16 years of age and older to improve basic skills in reading, writing, and arithmetic. These courses are not intended to be part of a program leading to a high school credential, nor are they part of any academic, occupational, or vocational program at the postsecondary level. Source: IPEDS

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, non- admission, placement on waiting list, or application withdrawn by applicant or institution. Source: IPEDS

Application Fee
That amount of money that an institution charges for processing a student’s application for admittance to the institution. This amount is not creditable toward tuition or required fees, nor is it refundable if the student is not admitted to the institution. Source: IPEDS

Asian (New Definition-Fall 2009 To Present)
A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian Subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam. Source: IPEDS

Asian/Pacific Islander (Old Definition- Prior To Fall 2009)
A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, and Pacific Islands. This includes people from China, Japan, Korea, the Philippine Islands, American Samoa, India, and Vietnam. Source: IPEDS

Term used when a student elects to take a course but does not wish to receive credit for the course toward a degree or other formal award. Note: Since this activity is not credit bearing, it is not counted in the Enrollment survey when reporting Instructional Activity. The students are not counted as part the fall counts if they are exclusively auditing their classes. Source: IPEDS

Baseline Data
Data that are used to represent the state of the community college before selected activities or events took place. This is used as a pre-event state of the community college, such as before a given intervention or strategy was put in place.

Benchmark Data
Data point or a data element for which there are comparable national, state, or regional sources. It becomes a performance target.

Black or African American (New Definition- Fall 2009 To Present)
A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. Source: IPEDS

Black, Non-Hispanic (Old Definition-Prior To Fall 2009)
A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa (except those of Hispanic origin). Source: IPEDS

Business Intelligence
Set of technologies, tools, applications, and practices employed to collect, integrate, and present business information for the improvement of decision making.

Calculation of FTE Students (Using Fall Student Headcounts)
The number of FTE students is calculated based on fall student headcounts as reported by the institution on the IPEDS Enrollment (EF) component (Part A). The full-time equivalent (headcount) of the institution’s part-time enrollment is estimated by multiplying specified factors times the part-time headcount. These are then added to the full-time enrollment headcounts to obtain an FTE for all students enrolled in the fall. This formula is used to produce an FTE that is used annually in the Digest of Education Statistics. Source: IPEDS

Calendar System
The method by which an institution structures most of its courses for the academic year. Source: IPEDS

A resource of all academic policies and procedures, college and degree requirements, faculty, and course descriptions.

Catalog Year
The year during which the regulations of a specific edition of the catalog apply.

Census Date
Date when certain data are pulled from the master file and often used for an official reason, such as the opening fall enrollment.

A structured set of professionally oriented courses designed to provide recognition that the student has completed coursework in an applied area of focus. For degree-seeking students, a certificate program may either complement or be concurrent with a traditional program of study. The certificate appears on the official transcript.

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

Level of progress toward a degree based on the number of earned semester/credit hours.

Commencement (also known as Graduation)
A formal ceremony in which the college awards degrees to graduating students at the end of each Fall and Spring semester, pending receipt of satisfactory final grades.

CIP Code
A six-digit code in the form xx.xxxx that identifies instructional program specialties within educational institutions. Source: IPEDS

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 most 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. Source: IPEDS

A specific group of students established for tracking purposes. Source: IPEDS

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. Source: IPEDS

College Navigator
A web tool accessed through the National Center for Education Statistics website that provides selected IP the institution on the IPEDS 12 month enrollment (E12) component and the institution’s calendar system, as reported on the Institutional Characteristics (IC) component.

College Work-Study Program (CWS)
(Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, Title IV, Part C; Public Laws 89-329, 92-318, 94-482, et al; 42 USC 2751-2756b.). The institution on the IPEDS 12 month enrollment (E12) component and the institution’s calendar system, as reported on the Institutional Characteristics (IC) component.

Comparison Group
The group of peer institutions used for comparison purposes within the IPEDS Peer Analysis System (PAS). Comparison groups may be identified by the analyst by name or UnitID, they may be built by using characteristics (variables) from the IPEDS data, or they may be automatically generated by the system. Also referred to as a peer group. Source: IPEDS

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. Source: IPEDS

Completers Within 150% Of Normal Time
Students who completed their program within 150% of the normal (or expected) time for completion. See Normal Time (e.g. 6 years for a bachelor’s degree). Source: IPEDS

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 institution on the IPEDS 12 month enrollment (E12) component and the institution’s calendar system, as reported on the Institutional Characteristics (IC) component. Source: IPEDS

Contact Hours
A unit of measure that represents an hour of scheduled instruction given to students. Also referred to as clock hour. Source: IPEDS

Contact Hour Activity
The provision of coursework to students which can be measured in terms of contact or clock hours. Source: IPEDS

Continuing Education Course
A course outside the regular academic instructional program, for which standard academic fees and tuition are (usually) not charged. While most often these courses do not earn academic credits, they can provide necessary education or experience for professional development or lead to professional certifications.

Continuing Professional Education
Programs and courses designed specifically for individuals who have completed a degree in a professional field (such as law, medicine, dentistry, education, or social work) to obtain additional training in their particular field of study. Source: IPEDS

Contributions From Affiliated Entities
Revenues from non- consolidated affiliated entities, such as fund raising foundations, booster clubs, other institutionally-related foundations, and similar organizations created to support the institution or organizational units of the institution. General purpose financial statements for FASB institutions include a separate line for these revenues; GASB institutions classify such revenues as gifts. Source: IPEDS

Control (Of Institution)
A classification of whether an institution is operated by publicly elected or appointed officials (public control) or by privately elected or appointed officials and derives its major source of funds from private sources (private control). Source: IPEDS

Cooperative (Work-Study) Program
A program that provides for alternate class attendance and employment in business, industry, or government. Source: IPEDS

Core Courses
Required courses in a major program.

Specific conditions, requirements, or courses that must be completed while taking another course (i.e., a lab).

A specific subject studied within a limited period of time. Courses may utilize lectures, discussion, laboratory, seminar, workshop, studio, independent study, internship, or other similar teaching formats to facilitate learning.

Course Load
Number of credit hours for which a student is enrolled during a semester.

Course Number
The four-letter and four-digit identification code that identifies each course taught.

Course Overload
Defined at Rowan-Cabarrus as over 18 credit hours for undergraduates and over 12 credit hours for graduates. Approval is required to take an overload.

Course Sections
Course numbers may be divided when classes also meet in discussion sections, or when a course number has sections pertaining to different topics under the same heading.

Course Title
The name of a specific course that indicates subject and content.

A specified amount of work undertaken in a course which leads to its completion; also, the courses taken to attain a degree in a specified program.

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. Source: IPEDS

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. Source: IPEDS

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. Source: IPEDS

Credit Hour Activity
The provision of coursework to students which can be measured in terms of credit hours. Source: IPEDS

A program of courses that meets the requirements for a degree in a particular field of study.

Data Collection System
The web environment that is used to collect the IPEDS data. Source: IPEDS

Data Dictionary
A file or a list that contains all known information about variables such as format, data type, field width, and source. Source: IPEDS

Data Ownership
Responsibility for collecting data, entering data into the transactional data system, and maintaining the security and integrity of the data.

Data Revision System
The web environment where an institution’s prior year data may be revised by key holders or data managers. Source: IPEDS

Data Universal Numbering System (Duns) Number
The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number is a 9-digit number assigned by the Dun & Bradstreet Information Corporation to any entity providing products, goods, or services. Source: IPEDS

Data Year
The year to which data pertain in a particular IPEDS component. For example, for collection year 2003-04, tuition is for data year 2003-04, whereas completions are for data year 2002-03. Source: IPEDS

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

Degree/Certificate-Seeking Students
Students enrolled in courses for credit and recognized by the institution as seeking a degree, certificate, or other formal award. High school students also enrolled in postsecondary courses for credit are not considered degree/certificate-seeking. Source: IPEDS

Degree Program
An organized sequence of courses that leads to the awarding of a college degree at the undergraduate or graduate level. Sometimes referred to as Curriculum.

Degree Requirement
A set of requirements, which a student must fulfill before he/she graduates.

A formal document certifying the successful completion of a prescribed program of studies. Source: IPEDS

Disability Services
Programs designed to provide reasonable academic accommodations and support services to empower students who have disabilities to competitively pursue postsecondary education. May also include assistance to campus departments in providing access to services and programs in the most integrated setting possible. Source: IPEDS

Double Major
Studying simultaneously for two majors, fulfilling the course requirements for both majors.

See Add/Drop.

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. Source: IPEDS

Dual Enrollment
A program through which high school students may enroll in college courses while still enrolled in high school. Students are not required to apply for admission to the college in order to participate. Source: IPEDS

See also Race. The United States Federal Government defines a student’s ethnicity as someone who self-identifies themselves as Hispanic or Latino. For internal reporting UCC reports race and ethnicity totals together. The sum of these categories is not unduplicated. Students may be counted in more than one category. For example, is a student is both Asian and Hispanic or Asian and Native American they are included in totals for both categories.

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. Source: IPEDS

Faculty Count
The unduplicated number of faculty IDs for the selected subjects or courses.

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. Source: IPEDS

Fall Enrollment (Ef)
This annual component of IPEDS collects data on the number of students enrolled in the fall at postsecondary institutions. Students reported are those enrolled in courses creditable toward a degree or other formal award; students enrolled in courses that are part of a vocational or occupational program, including those enrolled in off- campus or extension centers; and high school students taking regular college courses for credit. Institutions report annually the number of full- and part-time students, by gender, race/ethnicity, and level (undergraduate, graduate, first-professional); the total number of undergraduate entering students (first-time, full-and part-time students, transfer-ins, and non-degree students); and retention rates. In even-numbered years, data are collected for state of residence of first-time students and for the number of those students who graduated from high school or received high school equivalent certificates in the past 12 months. Also in even-numbered years, 4-year institutions are required to provide enrollment data by gender, race/ethnicity, and level for selected fields of study. In odd- numbered years, data are collected for enrollment by age category by student level and gender. Source: IPEDS

Fall Staff (S)
This data, now part of the IPEDS Human Resources (HR) component, was previously a separate collection. Only institutions with 15 or more full-time employees are required to report (biennially, for odd-numbered years). Institutions report the numbers of full- and part-time employees as of November 1 of the reporting year; full-time faculty by contract length and salary class intervals; number of other persons employed full-time by primary occupational activity and salary class intervals; part-time employees by primary occupational activity; tenure of full Prior to 2001, this collection also requested the number of persons donating (contributing) services or contracted for by the institution. Between 1987 and 1991, the Fall Staff data were collected in cooperation with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Beginning in 1993, all schools formerly surveyed by EEOC (using the EEO-6 survey form) reported through IPEDS Fall Staff. Source: IPEDS

Fall Term
The part of the academic year that begins between late August and November 1. Source: IPEDS

Federal Government Grants And Contracts (Revenues)
Revenues from federal governmental agencies that are for training programs, research, or public service activities for which expenditures are reimbursable under the terms of a government grant or contract. Includes Pell Grants for GASB institutions only. Source: IPEDS

Federal Grants
Transfers of money or property from the Federal government to the education institution without a requirement to receive anything in return. These grants may take the form of grants to the institutions to undertake research, or they may be in the form of student financial aid. Used for reporting on the Finance component. Source: IPEDS

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, including the Veteran’s Administration, Department of Labor, and other federal agencies. Used for reporting on the Student Financial Aid component. Source: IPEDS

Financial Aid
Grants, loans, assistantships, scholarships, fellowships, tuition waivers, tuition discounts, veteran’s benefits, employer aid (tuition reimbursement) and other monies (other than from relatives/friends) provided to students to meet expenses. This includes Title IV subsidized and unsubsidized loans made directly to students. Source: IPEDS

Financial Aid Applicant
Any applicant who submits any one of the institutionally required financial aid applications/forms, such as the FAFSA.

First-time Freshmen
Students with no prior college-level work beyond high school.

First-time Transfers
Students who have attended another college (post-high school).

Full Time Equivalent (FTE)
Full time equivalent is a calculated value for funding purposes. It consists of the total number of contact hours students are in class divided by 512. FTE measures total student activity. Source: NCCCS Chapter G: Full Time Equivalent

FTE Reporting. As directed by the System Office, colleges shall report FTE enrollment in all course sections scheduled during each academic term reporting period. If a course section is scheduled for a time-period that crosses academic term reporting periods, the FTE enrollment shall be reported as follows:

    • (1) For curriculum course sections that are regularly scheduled, as defined in 1G SBCCC 200.93(b), FTE enrollment shall be reported in the academic term reporting period in which the 10% point of the class falls.
    • (2) For curriculum course sections that are non-regularly scheduled, as defined in 1G SBCCC 200.93(c), and all continuing education course sections, FTE enrollment shall be reported in the academic term reporting period in which the last day of the course falls.

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. Source: IPEDS

FTE, Course
The total estimated FTE enrollment generated by all students enrolled in the selected subjects or courses.

FTE Per Section
The Course FTE divided by the Number of Sections. Indicates the average amount of FTE generated by each section for the subject area or courses.

FTE Staff
The full-time-equivalent (FTE) of staff is calculated by summing the total number of full-time staff from the Employees by Assigned Position (EAP) component and adding one-third of the total number of part-time staff. Source: IPEDS

Full Time Student
A student taking 12 or more credits is considered full-time, including audit courses.

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. Source: IPEDS

Full-Time Staff (Employees)
As defined by the institution. The type of appointment at the snapshot date determines whether an employee is full time or part time. The employee’s term of contract is not considered in making the determination of full or part time. Source: IPEDS

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

Final Exam
The last, and often the most comprehensive, examination of the entire semester’s course material.

Financial Aid/Assistance
Money available from various sources to help students pay for college. Students must establish eligibility. Funds can be competitive.

Financial Aid Package
Total amount of financial aid given to a student. Federal and non-Federal aid such as grants, loans, and work-study are combined to help meet the student’s need.

Financial Need
In the context of student financial aid, financial need is equal to the cost of education (estimated costs for college attendance and basic living expenses) minus the expected family contribution (the amount a student’s family is expected to pay, which varies according to the family’s financial resources).

Full-Year Cohort
The group of students entering at any time during the 12-month period September 1 through August 31 that is established for tracking and reporting Graduation Rate (GRS) data for institutions that primarily offer occupational programs of varying lengths. Students must be full-time and first-time to be considered in the cohort. Source: IPEDS

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. Source: IPEDS

General Education Requirements
These courses provide undergraduate students, regardless of their majors, with the foundations of a liberal education.

Good Academic Standing
Meeting the cumulative GPA requirements for a semester.

Good Academic Standing Warning
The result of unsatisfactory work during the course of a semester; a warning that the student should improve their performance.

GPA (Grade Point Average)
The grade point average for an undergraduate student is determined by adding all accumulated quality points together, and then dividing by the total number of GPA hours the student has attempted, excluding those for which the student received a grade of I, IP, W, WE, H, P, AU, or N. In computing the grade point average.

Evaluative scores provided for each course, and often for individual assignments, examinations, or papers written for that course. There are letter grades (usually A, B, C, D, F) and number grades (usually percentages from 0% to 100%, or on a scale of 0.0 to 4.0). Some undergraduate courses use a pass/no credit system with no grades; some graduate courses use a pass/unsatisfactory system with no grades.

Graduation (also known as Commencement)
A formal ceremony in which the community college awards degrees to graduating students at the end of each Fall and Spring semester, pending receipt of satisfactory final grades.

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. Source: IPEDS

Normal Time to Completion (100%): IPEDS has adopted the definition developed by the Joint Commission on Accountability Reporting (JCAR) as a definition of normal time. Normal time is defined as “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 2 years (4 semesters excluding summer semesters) for an associate’s degree in a standard term-based institution; and the various scheduled times for certificate programs. Source: IPEDS

Note: Technical Amendments that redefine the cohort year now allow an institution to count completers through August 31 of the summer following the sixth year of a 4-year program (or the third year for 2-year programs). Source: IPEDS

Degrees awarded beyond “Normal Time to Completion” follow the same methodology described above with completion times adjusted accordingly:

Graduated within 150% of Normal Time to Completion – Associate’s degree: 3 years (6 semesters) Source: IPEDS

Graduated within 200% of Normal Time to Completion – Associate’s degree: 4 years (8 semesters) Source: IPEDS

Graduated > 200% of Normal Time to Completion – Associate’s degree > 4 years Source: IPEDS

Total unduplicated number of students taking classes.

  • Curriculum Headcount: Total number of students taking classes where they have the opportunity to earn credit
  • Continuing Education Headcount: Total number of students taking classes where they do not have the opportunity to earn credit.

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. Source: IPEDS

Hispanic (Old Definition-Prior To Fall 2009)
A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. Source: IPEDS

Hispanic Or Latino (New Definition-Fall 2009 To Present)
A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. Source: IPEDS

Hispanic-Serving Institution (Hsi)
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. Note: low income is defined as 150% of the poverty level as determined by the Bureau of the Census. Source: IPEDS

Home Study
Method of instruction designed for students who live at a distance from the teaching institution. Instructional materials are provided to the student through various media with structured units of information, assigned exercises for practice, and examinations to measure achievement, which in turn are submitted to the teaching institution for evaluation, grade assignment, and the awarding of credit. Source: IPEDS

Institutional Class Report
The data is used in the allocation of funds to support instruction in these areas and associated Enrollment Growth. In addition, utilized for ad hoc reporting, program evaluation, and statistical analysis. Source: NCCCS

Incomplete Grade
An “I” (incomplete grade) may be assigned by a faculty member to a student who carried coursework satisfactorily until near the end of the semester, but who was then unable to complete the course, possibly including the final exam. If the student does not remove the “I” within 12 months, the “I” will be changed to “F,” “U,” or “N,” as appropriate.

Independent Study
A method of receiving credit for study or research independent of the assignments of any specific course but supervised and graded by a faculty member.

In-District Tuition
The tuition charged by the institution to those students residing in the locality in which they attend school. This may be a lower rate than in-state tuition if offered by the institution. Source: IPEDS

In-State Student
A student who is a legal resident of the state in which he/she attends school. Source: IPEDS

In-State Tuition
The tuition charged by institutions to those students who meet the state’s or institution’s residency requirements. Source: IPEDS

Initial Cohort
A specific group of individuals established for tracking purposes. For the Graduation Rates component of IPEDS, the initial cohort is defined as all students who enter an institution as full-time, first-time degree/certificate-seeking students during either (1) the fall term of a given academic year, or (2) between September 1st and August 31st of the following year. Source: IPEDS

Institution’s Staff (Not In Medical Schools)
Term used to describe all staff employed by or employees working in a postsecondary institution, except those employed by or working in the medical school component of the institution. Source: IPEDS

Institutional Account
An account in which the institution maintains fiscal control of revenues or expenditures and has full knowledge of the amounts flowing through the account. Source: IPEDS

Institutional Affiliation
A classification that indicates whether a private not-for-profit institution is associated with a religious group or denomination. Private not-for-profit institutions may be either independent or religiously affiliated. Source: IPEDS

Institutional Burden
The estimated amount of time (and money) required to respond to a survey. According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, no persons are required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a valid OMB control number. The valid OMB control number for IPEDS is 1850-0582. The time required to complete the fall information collection is estimated to vary from 1.5 hours to 3.8 hours per response, with an average of 3.2 hours, including the time to review instructions, search existing data resources, gather and maintain the data needed, and complete and review the information collection. Similarly, the time required to complete the winter information collection is estimated to vary from 3.5 hours to 15.5 hours, with an average of 12.1 hours; and the time required to complete the spring information collection is estimated to vary from 8.0 hours to 18.5 hours, with an average of 12.1 hours. Source: IPEDS

Institutional Category
This indicator is derived using the level of offerings reported on the Institutional Characteristics (IC) component and the number and level of awards reported on the Completions (C) component. Source: IPEDS

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. Source: IPEDS

Institutional Review Board (IRB)
Under FDA regulations, an Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a committee established by an institution to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects recruited to participate in research activities. In accordance with FDA regulations, an IRB has the authority to approve, require modifications in (to secure approval), or disapprove research. This group review serves an important role in the protection of the rights and welfare of human research subjects. Federal and state regulations require all human subjects research conducted by Rowan Cabarrus Community College faculty, staff, and students to be approved by the IRB before the research can be conducted. The IRB does not assume the role of evaluating the soundness of the proposed research study, the merits of the research design nor the potential contribution of the research to scholarly literature. For more information visit the website.

Instructional Activity
The total number of credit and contact hours all students are engaged in during the specified period. Source: IPEDS

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). Source: IPEDS

The person designated by an official institutional representative to have in their possession the necessary User ID and password to gain access to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) data collection system to complete the survey. The key-holder is responsible for entering data and locking the site by each survey completion date. Source: IPEDS

Laboratory (lab)
A classroom where students apply material in small-group situations that include experiments, assignments, and projects. A lab course typically has an “L” after the course number.

Learning Communities
Small groups of new students and faculty who share common interests. Students enroll in two or more of the same courses and, in many cases, live together in the same residence hall.

Learning Strategies
Activities that help people use their own learning style to best approach new learning.

The survey status obtained when a key holder has resolved all edits/errors and has decided that data are ready to “submit” to IPEDS. Once locked, the system becomes read only and the key holder no longer has access to the system to alter data. Source: IPEDS

A degree-seeking student’s primary field of study. A major is a structured plan of study requiring a minimum of 30 credit hours. The major appears on the official transcript.

Mid-term exam
An (often major) examination given in the middle of the semester that tests the student’s knowledge of information taught in the course from the beginning of the course up until the time of examination.

Non-credit course
A class that typically meets less frequently than a credit course and that contributes toward personal or occupational development.

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. Source: IPEDS

Out-of-State Student
A student who is not a legal resident of the state in which he/she attends school. Source: IPEDS

Out-of-State Tuition
Tuition charged by institutions to those students who do not meet the institution’s or state’s residency requirements. Source: IPEDS

Part-time student
An undergraduate student with a course load of less than 12 credit hours, or a graduate student with less than 9 credit hours.

Pass/no credit course
A course that rates a student’s performance on a pass/no credit basis, rather than on grades.

Pell Grant Program
(Higher Education Act of 1965, Title IV, Part A, Subpart I, as amended.) Provides grant assistance to eligible undergraduate postsecondary students with demonstrated financial need to help meet education expenses. Source: IPEDS

Perkins Loan Program
(Higher Education Act of 1965, Title IV, Part E, as amended, Public Laws 89-329, 92-318, et al; 20 USC 1087aa-1087hh.). Formerly known as National Direct Student Loans (NDSL), the Perkins Loan program provides low interest loans to eligible postsecondary students (undergraduate, graduate, or professional students) with demonstrated financial need to help meet educational expenses. Source: IPEDS

Tracking of student enrollment, usually measured semester to semester (fall to spring to fall…), through completion of program (graduation).

Qualitative Research
Involves collecting and analyzing non-numerical data (e.g., text, video, or audio) to understand concepts, opinions, or experiences. It is more people-based and includes data collection in the form of focus groups and interviews. It can be used to gather in-depth insights into a problem or generate new ideas for research.

Quantitative Research
Research that involves the use of numerical data and statistics.

See also Ethnicity. The United States Federal Government defines a student’s race as someone who self-identifies themselves as American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and or White. UCC Enrollment Reports report race and ethnicity information together and students are counted in every category they self-identify with.

Race/Ethnicity (New Definition-Fall 2009 to Present)
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 Latino
  • Second, individuals are asked to indicate all races that apply among the following: American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Asian
  • Black or African American
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
  • White

Source: IPEDS

Race/Ethnicity (Old Definition-Prior To Fall 2009)
Categories used I expect to advertise the position in two weeks and nominate a candidate within the next few months. Our first committee meeting will occur within the next few weeks, at which time we will receive our charge. Please let me know at your earliest opportunity if you can assist. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Race/Ethnicity Unknown
The category used to report students or employees whose race and ethnicity are not known. Source: IPEDS

Students select courses to enroll in for the subsequent term.

Registration hold flags
Students may be blocked from registering for courses by “hold flags” that may be placed for various reasons, including college or departmental advising requirements, invalid admissions status, outstanding financial obligations, unreturned equipment or library materials, suspension and disciplinary action, or non-compliance with the North Carolina Immunization Law.

Required courses
Courses that a student must take in order to complete their degree. In many cases, these courses must be passed with a grade of C or above.

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. Source: IPEDS

Resident Alien (And Other Eligible Non-Citizens)
A person who is not a citizen or national of the United States but 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 I-551 or I-151), a Temporary Resident Card (Form I-688), or an Arrival-Departure Record (Form I-94) with a notation that conveys legal immigrant status such as Section 207 Refugee, Section 208 Asylee, Conditional Entrant Parolee or Cuban-Haitian). Source: IPEDS

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. Source: IPEDS

Schedule of classes
A list of available courses for a specific period of study (i.e., Fall semester), including course numbers, hours, locations, and other pertinent information.

Seats, Percentage of
The percentage of seats used by students of a given year and type compared to the total number of seats for the selected subjects or courses.

Seats, Total Used
The total number of active seats used in the selected subject areas or courses (i.e. duplicated count).

Sections, Number of
The number of active sections for the selected subjects or courses.

Sections per Faculty Member
The number of sections for the selected subject or courses.

Semester or Term
A period of study of approximately 16 weeks, usually a third of the academic year (i.e., Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters). The Fall semester begins in August, the Spring semester in January, and the Summer semester in May at Rowan Cabarrus Community College. The Summer semester generally includes one eleven-week and two five-week half terms.

Stop Out
A student who left the institution and returned at a later date. Source: IPEDS

Student to Faculty Ratio, Average
The total number of seats used (duplicated student count).

A method for collecting information to improve the experience for future students. Current students are often asked to complete questionnaires or participate in focus groups to provide feedback on the quality of services and impact of educational programs.

See Semester or Term.

A list of all the courses a student has transferred in or taken at Rowan-Cabarrus with the grades that the student earned in each course at Rowan-Cabarrus. A transcript is an exact and complete record of a student’s academic history. The College requires a high school transcript when a student applies for admission.

The extent to which a course taken from one college or university may be accepted by another. Full or partial transfer of the credit may be available, dependent on factors such as whether the receiving college or university offers an equivalent or similar course at comparable levels of academic expectation for learning. Academic advisors have information about whether and how specific courses will transfer to their institutions and degree programs.

Transfer student
A student who has earned credit in one college or university, and then transfers to another.

The amount of money that colleges charge for coursework and other instruction. Tuition can vary widely between educational institutions, and does not cover fees, cost of books, and other materials.

Tuition waiver
A form of financial assistance in which the university may charge little or no tuition.

The unique number of students enrolled in the selected subject areas or courses. Students can be enrolled in one or more classes, but they are only counted once.

The procedure in which a student officially removes himself/herself from taking a course or removes himself/herself from all courses. Tuition may or may not be refunded, depending on the date of withdrawal.

Withdrawal with Extenuating Circumstances (WE)
A Withdrawal with Extenuating Circumstances is for students who are unable to complete their coursework due to an unforeseen circumstance that may include, but not be limited to Personal/Family Emergency, Personal Hardship, Medical/Mental Health Emergency or Military Orders.