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Glossary

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
Part-time staff (employees) As determined 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. Casual employees (hired on an ad-hoc basis or occasional basis to meet short-term needs) and students in the College Work-Study Program (CWS) are not considered part-time staff.
Part-time student Undergraduate: A student enrolled for either less than 12 semester or quarter credits, or less than 24 contact hours a week each term. Graduate: A student enrolled for less than 9 semester or quarter credits.
Password A series of numbers or letters that can be used either alone or with a User ID to gain access to the IPEDS data collection system or the IPEDS Data Center.
Patient contractual allowances Contractual allowances provided to insurers or other group health providers which are deducted from fees for services provided by hospitals (thus not included in hospital revenues).
Payments made on principal Payments made on plant loan debt to reduce the principal of the loan, regardless of the source of funds.
Peer Analysis System (PAS) An early IPEDS data access tool, no longer available. All the functions in the Peer Analysis System have been incorporated into the IPEDS Data Center.
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.
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.
Permanent endowment Funds held by an institution that must be held in perpetuity with only the income available for use. Endowments are usually the result of a gift or grant received that is required to be held in perpetuity by the donor or granting agency.
Permanently restricted Net assets of FASB institutions that must be maintained in perpetuity. Permanently restricted net assets increase when institutions receive contributions for which donor-imposed restrictions limiting the institution's use of an asset or its economic benefits neither expire with the passage of time nor can be removed by the organization's meeting certain requirements. Donor-imposed restrictions on the use of the investment income on the assets may also change the amount of such net assets. Permanent endowment funds are the most common example.
Physical plant assets These assets consist of land, buildings, improvements, equipment, and library books. Excluded are assets that are part of endowment or other capital fund investments in real estate. Construction in progress is excluded from this total until completed.
Physical plant indebtedness Debt incurred in financing the institution's capital assets, including bonds, mortgages, notes, capital leases, and any other outstanding debt that was incurred to acquire, construct, or improve capital assets such as land, buildings, and improvements other than buildings, equipment, and library books. Excludes indebtedness that is part of endowment or other capital fund investments in real estate. Also excludes construction in progress.
Placement services for program completers Assistance for students in evaluating their career alternatives and in obtaining full-time employment upon leaving the institution.
Post 9/11 GI Bill A federal education benefit program for veterans, who served on active duty after September 10, 2011. This Department of Veteran Affairs benefit provides up to 36 months of education benefits at an approved institution for the following college costs: tuition and fees, books and supplies and housing. The tuition and fees payment, which is the cost for an in-state student attending a public institution, is made directly to the postsecondary institution whereas payments for books and supplies and housing are sent directly to the student.
Post-master's certificate An award that requires completion of an organized program beyond the master's degree, but does not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctor's level.
Postbaccalaureate certificate

An award that requires completion of an organized program of study beyond the bachelor's.  It is designed for persons who have completed a baccalaureate degree, but does not meet the requirements of a master's degree. 

 

NOTE: Even though Teacher Preparation certificate programs may require a bachelor's degree for admission, they are considered subbacalaureate undergraduate programs, and students in these programs are undergraduate students.

Postsecondary award, certificate, or diploma (at least 1 but less than 2 academic years) An award that requires completion of an organized program of study at the postsecondary level (below the baccalaureate degree) in at least 1 but less than 2 full-time equivalent academic years , or designed for completion in at least 30 but less than 60 semester or trimester credit hours, or in at least 45 but less than 90 quarter credit hours, or in at least 900 but less than 1,800 contact or clock hours.
Postsecondary award, certificate, or diploma (at least 2 but less than 4 academic years) An award that requires completion of an organized program of study at the postsecondary level (below the baccalaureate degree) in at least 2 but less than 4 full-time equivalent academic years , or designed for completion in at least 60 but less than 120 semester or trimester credit hours, or in at least 90 but less than 180 quarter credit hours, or in at least 1,800 but less than 3,600 contact or clock hours.
Postsecondary award, certificate, or diploma (less than 1 academic year) An award that requires completion of an organized program of study at the postsecondary level (below the baccalaureate degree) in less than 1 academic year (2 semesters or 3 quarters), or designed for completion in less than 30 semester or trimester credit hours, or in less than 45 quarter credit hours, or in less than 900 contact or clock hours.
Postsecondary education The provision of a formal instructional program whose curriculum is designed primarily for students who are beyond the compulsory age for high school. This includes programs whose purpose is academic, vocational, and continuing professional education, and excludes avocational and adult basic education programs.
Postsecondary education institution An institution which has as its sole purpose or one of its primary missions, the provision of postsecondary education.
Postsecondary Statistics Division (PSD) The Postsecondary Statistics Division (PSD) is the organizational unit within the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) where IPEDS is conducted.
Postsecondary Teachers An occupational category in the 2012 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Manual with the SOC code 25-1000.  This catgory is not an IPEDS reporting category.
Predominant calendar system The method by which an institution structures most of its courses for the academic year.
Prepaid tuition plan A program that allows students or their families to purchase college tuition or tuition credits for future years, at current prices.
Preservation Activities associated with maintain library and archival materials for use in their original form or some other usable way. Examples include rebinding, de-acidification, restoration, lamination, materials conservation and digitization.
Primarily Instruction An occupational category used to classify persons whose specific assignments customarily are made for the purpose of providing instruction or teaching. Regardless of title, academic rank, or tenure status, these employees formally spend the majority of their time providing instruction or teaching.
Primary occupational activity

The principal activity of a staff member as determined by the institution. If an individual participates in two or more activities, the primary activity is normally determined by the amount of time spent in each activity. Occupational activities are designated as follows: Executive, administrative, and managerial; Faculty (instruction/research/public service); Graduate assistants; Other professional (support/service); Technical and paraprofessional; Clerical and secretarial; Skilled crafts; and Service/maintenance (see separate definitions).

(Term used in the IPEDS HR survey component prior to 2012-13)

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. Private institution
Private not-for-profit institution
Public institution
Private gifts (Revenues) Revenues from private (non-governmental) entities including revenues received from gift or contribution nonexchange transactions (including contributed services) except those from affiliated entities. 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.
Private gifts, grants and contracts (revenues) Revenues from private donors for which no legal consideration is involved and from private contracts for specific goods and services provided to the funder as stipulation for receipt of the funds. Includes only those gifts, grants, and contracts that are directly related to instruction, research, public service, or other institutional purposes. Includes monies received as a result of gifts, grants, or contracts from a foreign government. Also includes the estimated dollar amount of contributed services.
Private grants and contracts (Revenues) Revenues from private (non-governmental) entities 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, 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.
Private institution An educational institution controlled by a private individual(s) or by a nongovernmental agency, usually supported primarily by other than public funds, and operated by other than publicly elected or appointed officials. These institutions may be either for-profit or not-for-profit. Private for-profit institution
Private not-for-profit institution
Public institution
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
Private institution
Public institution
Production, Transportation, and Material Moving Occupations An occupational category based on the following two major groups in the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Manual:  1) Production Occupations (http://www.bls.gov/soc/2010/soc510000.htm) and 2) Transportation and Material Moving Occupations (http://www.bls.gov/soc/2010/soc530000.htm).
Program A combination of courses and related activities organized for the attainment of broad educational objectives as described by the institution.
Program category A summary of groups of related instructional programs designated by the first 2 digits of its appropriate Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code.
Program Participation Agreement (PPA) A written agreement between a postsecondary institution and the Secretary of Education. This agreement allows institutions to participate in any of the Title IV student assistance programs other than the State Student Incentive Grant (SSIG) and the National Early Intervention Scholarship and Partnership (NEISP) programs. The PPA conditions the initial and continued participation of an eligible institution in any Title IV program upon compliance with the General Provisions regulations, the individual program regulations, and any additional conditions specified in the program participation agreement that the Department of Education requires the institution to meet. Institutions with such an agreement are referred to as Title IV institutions .
Program specialty A specific instructional program that can be identified by a 6-digit Classification of Institutional Programs (CIP) Code.
Program with no formal award Any formally organized program with stated educational objectives and well-defined completion requirements that does not lead to a formal award.
Programs of at least 2 years but less than 4 years Programs requiring at least 2 years but less than 4 years of full-time equivalent college level work, including associate's degrees and programs that can be completed in at least 1,800 but less than 3,600 contact hours to obtain a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award.
Programs of at least 4 years Programs designed to be completed in at least 8 semesters or 12 quarters to obtain a degree, diploma, or other formal award. Includes programs resulting in all bachelor's degrees and other baccalaureate level or equivalent degrees, as well as 5-year cooperative programs, and those programs in which the normal 4 years of work are designed to be completed in 3 years.
Programs of less than 2 years Programs requiring less than 2 years of full-time equivalent college level work (4 semesters or 6 quarters) or less than 1,800 contact hours to obtain a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award.
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 for-profit institution
Private institution
Private not-for-profit institution
Public service A functional expense category that includes expenses for activities established primarily to provide noninstructional services beneficial to individuals and groups external to the institution. Examples are conferences, institutes, general advisory service, reference bureaus, and similar services provided to particular sectors of the community. This function includes expenses for community services, cooperative extension services, and public broadcasting services. Also includes information technology expenses related to the public service activities if the institution separately budgets and expenses information technology resources (otherwise these expenses are included in academic support). Institutions include actual or allocated costs for operation and maintenance of plant, interest, and depreciation.
Public service (expense-- GASB aligned form reporters) A functional expense category that includes expenses for activities established primarily to provide noninstructional services beneficial to individuals and groups external to the institution. Examples are conferences, institutes, general advisory service, reference bureaus, and similar services provided to particular sectors of the community. This function includes expenses for community services, cooperative extension services, and public broadcasting services. Also includes information technology expenses related to the public service activities if the institution separately budgets and expenses information technology resources (otherwise these expenses are included in academic support). GASB institutions include actual or allocated costs for operation and maintenance of plant and depreciation.
Public Service staff

An occupational category used to classify persons whose specific assignments customarily are made for the purpose of carrying out public service activities such as agricultural extension services, clinical services, or continuing education. Regardless of title, academic rank, or tenure status, these employees formally spend the majority of their time carrying out public service activities. (This category includes employees with a public service assignment regardless of the location of the assignment (e.g., in the field rather than on campus)).
(This category was called Primarily public service prior to 2012-13.)

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
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