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The online version of the IPEDS Glossary provides definitions for almost 500 postsecondary-related terms used in the collection and dissemination of IPEDS data.

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Term Definition Related terms
Gains Increases in the institution's net assets from peripheral or incidental transactions. This is in contrast to revenues, which occur from the institution's ongoing major or central operations. Whether a transaction generates revenue or a gain depends on the relationship of the transaction to the institution's activities. For example, the sale of computers by a college store might be part of ongoing central activities, while the sale of surplus computers from administrative offices might be considered otherwise.
GASB (Governmental Accounting Standards Board) The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) establishes accounting standards for local and state entities including governmental colleges and universities.
GASB governmental model using standards prior to GASB 34 & 35 Prior to adopting the GASB model using GASB 34 and 35, some governmental colleges and universities used the "governmental model" of financial reporting. This reporting model and standards, followed primarily by some institutions with taxing authority, used the same financial reporting standards as state and local governments.
GASB model using GASB 34 & 35 GASB Statements 34 and 35 require all governmental colleges and universities to issue financial statements using the reporting model and standards of those statements. The required implementation date is based on annual revenues, with implementation dates from years beginning after June 15, 2001, to June 15, 2003. The two previous models are the GASB governmental model and the AICPA College and University Audit Guide model.
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.
General purpose financial statement (GPFS) Financial statements issued to parties outside the management of an institution. These are provided to creditors, donors, public officials outside the institution, and other external parties. GPFS differ from internal management financial reports, although GPFS may also be of use to board members and officials of the institution. The audit opinion is issued on the GPFS.
Gifts Revenues received from gift or contribution nonexchange transactions. Includes bequests, promises to give (pledges), gifts from an affiliated organization or a component unit not blended or consolidated, and income from funds held in irrevocable trusts or distributable at the direction of the trustees of the trusts. Includes any contributed services recognized (recorded) by the institution. FASB and GASB standards differ somewhat on when to recognize contributions or nonexchange revenues, with FASB standards generally causing revenues to be recognized earlier in certain circumstances.
Governing board An entity that ensures on behalf of the public the performance of an institution or a group of institutions. Responsibilities of the board may include appointing, supporting, and monitoring the president of the institution; reviewing educational and public service programs; insisting on strategic planning; and, ensuring good management and adequate resources.
Government appropriations (revenues) Revenues received by an institution through acts of a legislative body, except grants and contracts. These funds are for meeting current operating expenses and not for specific projects or programs. The most common example is a state's general appropriation. Appropriations primarily to fund capital assets are classified as capital appropriations.
Governmental activities Activities financed by taxes and intergovernmental revenues and other nonexchange revenues.
Governmental activities with business type This financial reporting mode, provided by GASB Statement No. 34, refers to an institution that accounts for its activities as governmental (that is, financed by taxes, intergovernmental revenues, and other nonexchange activities) with characteristics of business-type activities (those supported by fees charged for goods or services). The financial statements for this type of entity include a column for reporting governmental activities and another for business-type activities. GASB Statement 34 specifies the financial reporting format for this type of governmental entity.
Graduate Assistants (Research) An occupational category used to classify graduate assistants whose specific assignments customarily are made for the purpose of conducting research.
Graduate Assistants (Teaching) An occupational category based on the detailed occupation in the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Manual called "Graduate Assistant - Teaching" (SOC code 25-1191). For detailed information, refer to the following website: http://
Graduate student A student who holds a bachelor's degree or above and is taking courses at the postbaccalaureate level. These students may or may not be enrolled in graduate programs.
Graduation rate The rate required for disclosure and/or reporting purposes under Student Right-to-Know Act. This rate is calculated as the total number of completers within 150% of normal time divided by the revised adjusted cohort.
Graduation Rates (GR) This annual component of IPEDS was added in 1997 to help institutions satisfy the requirements of the Student Right-to-Know legislation. Data are collected on the number of students entering the institution as full-time, first-time, degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students in a particular year (cohort), by race/ethnicity and gender; the number completing their program within 150 percent of normal time to completion; the number that transfer to other institutions if transfer is part of the institution's mission. Prior to 2007, institutions who offered athletically-related student aid were asked to report, by sport, the number of students receiving aid and whether they completed within 150 percent of normal time to completion. Now, these institutions only need to report a URL where the athletic data is located on their website, when available. GR automatically generates worksheets that calculate rates, including average rates over 4 years.
Grants and contracts (revenues) Revenues from governmental agencies and nongovernmental parties that are for specific research projects, other types of programs , or for general institutional operations (if not government appropriations). Examples are research projects, training programs, student financial assistance, and similar activities for which amounts are received or expenses are reimbursable under the terms of a grant or contract, including amounts to cover both direct and indirect expenses. Includes Pell Grants and reimbursement for costs of administering federal financial aid programs. Grants and contracts should be classified to identify the governmental level - federal, state, or local - funding the grant or contract to the institution; grants and contracts from other sources are classified as nongovernmental grants and contracts. GASB institutions are required to classify in financial reports such grants and contracts as either operating or nonoperating.
Grants by local government (student aid) Local government grants include scholarships or gift-aid awarded directly to the student. (Used for reporting Finance data)
Grants by state government (student aid) Grant monies provided by the state such as Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnerships (LEAP) (formerly SSIG's); merit scholarships provided by the state; and tuition and fee waivers for which the institution was reimbursed by a state agency. (Used for reporting Finance data)
Graphic materials Opaque (e.g., two-dimensional) art originals and reproductions, charts, photographs or materials intended to be projected or viewed without sound, e.g., filmstrips, transparencies, photographs, posters, pictures, radiographs, slides, and collections of such materials.” [NISO Z39.7-2013, section 4.6]  


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National Center for Education Statistics -
U.S. Department of Education