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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
Race and ethnicity unknown The category used to report students or employees whose race and ethnicity are not known.
Race/ethnicity 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:Second, individuals are asked to indicate all races that apply among the following:
Race/ethnicity (old definition) Categories 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. A person may be counted in only one group. The groups used to categorize U.S. citizens, resident aliens, and other eligible non-citizens are as follows: Black, non-Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, White, non-Hispanic.
Realized capital gains A capital gain on securities held in a portfolio that has become actual by the sale or other type of surrender of one or many securities.
Remedial courses Instructional courses designed for students deficient in the general competencies necessary for a regular postsecondary curriculum and educational setting.
Remedial services Instructional activities designed for students deficient in the general competencies necessary for a regular postsecondary curriculum and educational setting.
Required fees Fixed sum charged to students for items not covered by tuition and required of such a large proportion of all students that the student who does not pay the charge is an exception.
Research A functional expense category that includes expenses for activities specifically organized to produce research outcomes and commissioned by an agency either external to the institution or separately budgeted by an organizational unit within the institution. The category includes institutes and research centers, and individual and project research. This function does not include nonresearch sponsored programs (e.g., training programs). Also included are information technology expenses related to research 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.
Research (expense-- GASB aligned form reporters) A functional expense category that includes expenses for activities specifically organized to produce research outcomes and commissioned by an agency either external to the institution or separately budgeted by an organizational unit within the institution. The category includes institutes and research centers, and individual and project research. This function does not include nonresearch sponsored programs (e.g., training programs). Also included are information technology expenses related to research 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.
Research Staff An occupational category used to classify persons whose specific assignments customarily are made for the purpose of conducting research. Regardless of title, academic rank, or tenure status, these employees formally spend the majority of their time conducting research. 

(This category was called Primarily research prior to 2012-13.)

Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Programs designed to augment the service academies in producing leaders and managers for the armed forces. Each branch of the service has a specific set of courses and training that a student must complete prior to becoming a commissioned officer. ROTC programs allow students to do this while completing their college education. Upon graduation members are commissioned (certified) by the President of the United States to serve as an officer in active, reserve or guard components of each branch
Residence 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.
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). Nonresident alien
Restricted current funds Funds available for financing operations but which are limited by donors or other external agencies to specific purposes, programs , departments, or schools. These funds are subject to externally imposed restrictions which are different from the internal designations imposed by the governing board on unrestricted funds.
Restricted net assets (FASB institutions only) Assets held by the institution upon which restrictions have been placed by donors. These restrictions may be temporary or permanent. They restrict the institution in its use of the assets and/or the period of time for which the restriction applies.
Restricted-expendable (net assets) Net assets of GASB institutions that are expendable but subject to imposed restrictions. Restrictions exist when constraints placed on use are either (a) externally imposed by creditors, grantors, contributors, or laws and regulations of other governments, or (b) imposed by law through constitutional provisions or enabling legislation.
Restricted-nonexpendable (net assets) Net assets of GASB institutions subject to restrictions that prohibit the expenditure of the net assets in perpetuity. Restrictions exist when constraints placed on use are either (a) externally imposed by creditors, grantors, contributors, or laws and regulations of other governments, or (b) imposed by law through constitutional provisions or enabling legislation. Permanent endowments are the most common example.
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.
Revenues The inflow of resources or other enhancement of net assets (or fund balance) of an institution or settlements of its liabilities (or a combination of both) from delivering or producing goods, rendering services, or other activities that constitute the institution's ongoing major or central operations. Includes revenues from fees and charges, appropriations, auxiliary enterprises, and contributions and other nonexchange transactions. Revenues are reported net of discounts and allowances (that is, the revenue reported is reduced by the amount of discounts and allowances) for FASB institutions and for GASB institutions that have implemented GASB Statement No. 34.
Revised cohort Initial cohort after revisions are made. Cohorts may be revised if an institution discovers that incorrect data were reported in an earlier year.
Room charges The charges for an academic year for rooming accommodations for a typical student sharing a room with one other student.

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education