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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
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in the Institute of Education Sciences, is the statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Education and the primary federal provider of education statistics on the condition of American education.
National institutional accreditation Institutional accreditation normally applies to an entire institution, indicating that each of its parts is contributing to the achievement of an institution's objectives, although not necessarily all on the same level of quality. The various commissions of the regional accrediting associations, for example, perform institutional accreditation, as do some national institutional accrediting agencies.
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.
Natural Resources, Construction, and Maintenance Occupations An occupational category based on the following three major groups in the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Manual:  1) Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations (; 2) Construction and Extraction Occupations (; and 3) Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations (
Net assets The excess of assets over liabilities or the residual interest in the institution's assets remaining after liabilities are deducted. The change in net assets results from revenues, gains, expenses, and losses. FASB institutions classify net assets into three categories: permanently restricted, temporarily restricted, and unrestricted. GASB institutions classify net assets into three categories: invested in capital, net of related debt; restricted (with separate displays of restricted-expendable and restricted-nonexpendable net assets); and unrestricted. Although the terms are similar, the composition of the categories of net assets between FASB and GASB institutions can differ significantly.
Net grant aid to students (expenses) The portion of scholarships and fellowships granted by an institution that exceeds the amount applied to institutional charges such as tuition and fees or room and board. The amount reported as expense excludes allowances.
Net income The final figure in the income statement when revenues exceed expenses.
Net loss The final figure in the income statement when expenses exceed revenues.
Net price The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 defines institutional net price as "the average yearly price actually charged to first-time, full-time undergraduate students receiving student aid at an institution of higher education after deducting such aid." In IPEDS, average institutional net price is generated by subtracting the average amount of federal, state/local government, or institutional grant and scholarship aid from the total cost of attendance. Total cost of attendance is the sum of published tuition and required fees (lower of in-district or in-state for public institutions), books and supplies, and the weighted average for room and board and other expenses. Cost of attendance data are collected in the Institutional Characteristics (IC) component of IPEDS, and financial aid data are collected in the Student Financial Aid (SFA) component of IPEDS.
New hires Persons who were hired for full-time permanent employment either for the first time (new to the institution) or after a break in service between July 1st and October 31st of the survey year AND who were still on the payroll of the institution as of the same survey year. Does not include persons who have returned from sabbatical leave OR full-time Postsecondary Staff who are working less-than-9-month contracts.
Non E & G current funds expenditures Includes self-supporting operations of the institution that furnish a service to students, faculty, or staff and charge a fee related to the service. Also includes funds expended for operations that are independent of the mission of the institution.
Non-degree-seeking student A student enrolled in courses for credit who is not recognized by the institution as seeking a degree or formal award.
Non-medical school staff See Institution's staff (not in medical schools)
Non-Returnables Materials that the library does not expect to have returned. Examples of non-returnables include photocopies or facsimiles, fiche-to-fiche copies, print copies from microfilm, electronic full-text documents, and gratis print copies of unpublished reports and/or departmental working papers.
Noncredit course A course or activity having no credit applicable toward a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award.
Noncurrent assets Assets that are not reasonably expected to be realized in cash or sold or consumed during the next normal operating cycle (normally one year) of the institution. Liquidity or nearness to cash is not the basis for determining classification as current or noncurrent. Thus cash investments intended for liquidation of liabilities due beyond the one-year period are noncurrent assets, as would assets segregated for the liquidation of long-term debts (including amounts due within the next operating cycle). Assets designated to be used to acquire, construct, or improve capital assets would be noncurrent.
Noncurrent liabilities Liabilities whose liquidation is not reasonably expected to require the use of resources classified as current assets or the creation of other current liabilities within the next year. This includes the noncurrent portion of long-term debt and long-term accrued liabilities (such as for compensated absences, claims and judgments, and post-employment/post-retirement benefits); liability for refundable advances to the federal government for the Perkins Loan Program and similar loan programs; and debt due within the next operating cycle, if payment will be made from segregated assets classified as noncurrent assets.
Nonmandatory transfers Transfers from current funds to other fund groups made at the discretion of the governing board to serve a variety of objectives, such as additions to loan funds, funds functioning as endowment (quasi-endowment), general or specific plant additions, voluntary renewals and replacement of plant, and prepayments on debt principal.
Nonoperating GASB requires that revenues and expenses be separated between operating and nonoperating. Operating revenues and expenses result from providing goods and services. Nonoperating activities are those outside the activities that are part of the operating activities of the institution. Most government appropriations are nonoperating because they are not generated by the operations of the institution. Investment income is nonoperating in most instances because institutions are not engaged in investing as an operating activity. Gifts are defined as nonoperating. Nonexchange transactions generate nonoperating revenues.
Nonresident alien A person who is not a citizen or national of the United States and who is in this country on a visa or temporary basis and does not have the right to remain indefinitely. Resident alien (and other eligible non-citizens)
Normal time to completion 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 4 years (8 semesters or trimesters, or 12 quarters, excluding summer terms) for a bachelor's degree in a standard term-based institution; 2 years (4 semesters or trimesters, or 6 quarters, excluding summer terms) for an associate's degree in a standard term-based institution; and the various scheduled times for certificate programs.
Not on tenure track Personnel positions that are considered non-tenure earning positions. Tenure track


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