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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
Salaries and wages Amounts paid as compensation for services to all employees - faculty, staff, part-time, full-time, regular employees, and student employees. This includes regular or periodic payment to a person for the regular or periodic performance of work or a service and payment to a person for more sporadic performance of work or a service (overtime, extra compensation, summer compensation, bonuses, sick or annual leave, etc.).
Salary Outlay Projected annual expenditure for salaries.
Sales and Related Occupations An occupational category based on the major group in the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Manual called "Sales and Related Occupations." For detailed information refer to the following website: http://www.bls.gov/soc/2010/soc410000.htm.
Sales and services of educational activities (revenues) Revenues from the sales of goods or services that are incidental to the conduct of instruction, research or public service. Examples include film rentals, sales of scientific and literary publications, testing services, university presses, dairy products, machine shop products, data processing services, cosmetology services, and sales of handcrafts prepared in classes.
Sales and services of hospitals (revenues) Revenues (net of discounts, allowances, and provisions for uncollectible accounts receivable) generated by hospitals from daily patient, special and other services. Revenues of health clinics that are part of a hospital should be included in this category, unless such clinics are part of the student health services program.
SAT Previously known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, this is an examination administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and used to predict the facility with which an individual will progress in learning college-level academic subjects.
Scholarships Grants-in-aid, trainee stipends, tuition and required fee waivers, prizes or other monetary awards given to undergraduate students.
Scholarships and fellowships Outright grants-in-aid, trainee stipends, tuition and fee waivers, and prizes awarded to students by the institution, including Pell grants. Awards to undergraduate students are most commonly referred to as "scholarships" and those to graduate students as "fellowships." These awards do not require the performance of services while a student (such as teaching) or subsequently as a result of the scholarship or fellowship. The term does not include loans to students (subject to repayment), College Work-Study Program (CWS), or awards granted to a parent of a student because of the parent's faculty or staff status. Also not included are awards to students where the selection of the student recipient is not made by the institution.
Scholarships and fellowships (expenses) That portion of scholarships and fellowships granted that exceeds the amount applied to institutional charges such as tuition and fees or room and board. The amount reported as expense excludes allowances and discounts. The FASB survey uses the term "net grants in aid to students" rather than "scholarships and fellowships."
Schools of art, music, and design (Carnegie) An institutional classification developed by the Andrew W. Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Schools of Art, Music, and Design award most of their bachelor's or graduate degrees in art, music, design, architecture, or some combination of such fields. Carnegie Classification
Specialized institutions (Carnegie)
Schools of business and management (Carnegie) An institutional classification developed by the Andrew W. Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Schools of Business and Management award most of their bachelor's or graduate degrees in business or business-related programs . Carnegie Classification
Specialized institutions (Carnegie)
Schools of engineering and technology (Carnegie) An institutional classification developed by the Andrew W. Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Schools of Engineering and Technology award most of their bachelor's or graduate degrees in technical fields of study. Carnegie Classification
Specialized institutions (Carnegie)
Schools of law (Carnegie) An institutional classification developed by the Andrew W. Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Schools of Law award most of their degrees in law. Carnegie Classification
Specialized institutions (Carnegie)
Sector One of nine institutional categories resulting from dividing the universe according to control and level. Control categories are public, private not-for-profit, and private for-profit. Level categories are 4-year and higher (4 year), 2-but-less-than 4-year (2 year), and less than 2-year. For example: Public, 4-year is one of the institution sectors.
Semester (calendar system) A calendar system that consists of two sessions called semesters during the academic year with about 15 weeks for each semester of instruction. There may be an additional summer session.
Service Occupations An occupational category based on the following five major groups in the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Manual:  1) Healthcare Support Occupations (http://www.bls.gov/soc/2010/soc310000.htm); 2) Protective Service Occupations (http://www.bls.gov/soc/2010/soc330000.htm); 3) Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations (http://www.bls.gov/soc/2010/soc350000.htm); 4) Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations (http://www.bls.gov/soc/2010/soc370000.htm); and 5) Personal Care and Service Occupations (http://www.bls.gov/soc/2010/soc390000.htm).
Service/maintenance

A primary function or occupational activity category used to classify persons whose assignments require limited degrees of previously acquired skills and knowledge and in which workers perform duties that result in or contribute to the comfort, convenience, and hygiene of personnel and the student body or that contribute to the upkeep of the institutional property. Includes titles such as fire fighters; law enforcement workers; parking enforcement workers; police officers; security guards; lifeguards; ski patrol; cooks and food preparation workers; food and beverage serving workers; fast food and counter workers; waiters and waitresses; other food preparation and serving related workers; building cleaning and pest control workers; grounds maintenance workers; electrical and electronic equipment mechanics; installers and repairers; radio and telecommunications equipment installers and repairers; avionics technicians; electric motor, power tool, and related repairers; vehicle and mobile equipment mechanics, installers, and repairers; control and valve installers and repairers; heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers; air transportation workers; motor vehicle operators; and parking lot attendants.

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

Shared library A facility housing an organized collection of printed, microform, and audiovisual materials, and (a) is jointly administered by more than one educational institution, or (b) whose funds or operating expenditures have been received from more than one educational institution. The location of the facility is not a determining factor.
Skilled crafts

A primary function or occupational activity category used to classify persons whose assignments typically require special manual skills and a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the processes involved in the work, acquired through on-the-job-training and experience or through apprenticeship or other formal training programs . Includes occupational titles such as welders, cutters, solderers and brazers; bookbinders and bindery workers; printers; cabinetmakers and bench carpenters; plant and system operators; stationary engineers and boiler operators; water and liquid waste treatment plant and system operators; crushing, grinding, polishing, mixing, and blending workers; medical, dental, and ophthalmic laboratory technicians; painting workers; photographic process workers and processing machine operators; and etchers and engravers.

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

Special admissions tests Tests prepared by or for a particular institution, or state (for some state institutions) and administered by the institution, for purposes of determining prospective students' skills and competencies.
Specialized accreditation Specialized accreditation normally applies to the evaluation of programs , departments, or schools which usually are parts of a total collegiate or other postsecondary institution. The unit accredited may be as large as a college or school within a university or as small as a curriculum within a discipline. Most of the specialized accrediting agencies review units within a postsecondary institution which is accredited by one of the regional accrediting commissions. However, certain of the specialized accrediting agencies accredit professional schools and other specialized or vocational or other postsecondary institutions which are free-standing in their operations. Thus, a "specialized" or "programmatic" accrediting agency may also function in the capacity of an "institutional" accrediting agency. In addition, a number of specialized accrediting agencies accredit educational programs within non-educational settings, such as hospitals. Accrediting agencies
Accrediting bodies
Specialized institutions (Carnegie) These institutions offer degrees ranging from the bachelor's to the doctor's, and typically award a majority of degrees in a single field or combination of related fields. Medical schools and medical centers (Carnegie)
Other separate health profession schools (Carnegie)
Other specialized institutions (Carnegie)
Schools of art, music, and design (Carnegie)
Schools of business and management (Carnegie)
Schools of engineering and technology (Carnegie)
Schools of law (Carnegie)
Teachers colleges (Carnegie)
Theological seminaries and other specialized faith-related institutions (Carnegie)
Stafford Loans (Higher Education Act of 1965, Title IV-B, as amended, Public Law 89-329; 20 USC 1071.) Provides guaranteed loans for educational expenses from eligible lenders to vocational or academic undergraduate, graduate, and first-professional students at eligible postsecondary institutions.
Standardized admissions tests Tests prepared and administered by an agency that is independent of any postsecondary education institution. Tests provide information about prospective students and their academic qualifications relative to a national sample. Examples are the SAT and the ACT.
State and local government grants State and local monies awarded to the institution under state and local student aid programs, including the state portion of State Student Incentives Grants (SSIG). (Used for reporting Student Financial Aid data)
State and local government grants and contracts (revenues) Revenues from state and local government agencies that are for training programs and similar activities for which amounts are received or expenditures are reimbursable under the terms of a state or local government grant or contract.
State and local grants 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. Local government grants include scholarships or gift-aid awarded directly to the student. (Used for reporting Finance data for private for-profit institutions )
State government grants and contracts (revenues) Revenues from state Government agencies that are for training programs and similar activities for which amounts are received or expenditures are reimbursable under the terms of a state government grant or contract.
State grants (revenues) A sum of money or property bestowed on a postsecondary institution by a state government.
State of residence A person's permanent address as determined by such evidence as a driver's license or voter registration. For entering freshmen, state of residence may be the legal state of residence of a parent or guardian.
State unknown Status used when the reporting institution is unable to determine from existing records the home state or residence of the student.
Status date In the collection of Graduation Rates data, institutions report on the status of the students in their cohort as of August 31 of the reporting year.
Status indicators Used in the IPEDS data collection system to identify progress toward satisfying reporting (compliance) requirements. The survey status indicators are as follows:
  • Not Applicable - The institution is not required to complete the component because the content is not relevant to the institution.
  • NO DATA - Screening questions have not been answered. Responses to all screening questions are required before data collection pages will be generated.
  • No Data - No data provided.
  • Has Data - Data have been entered. "Perform Edits" must be run to determine if data are clean.
  • Edited - Edits have been run; institutions should go to the edit report to resolve edit errors.
  • Clean - All edit errors have been resolved; data are clean; proceed to Lock.
  • Locked - Data have been successfully submitted. Final lock must still be applied.
  • Complete - All locks have been applied.
Stop out A student who left the institution and returned at a later date.
Student activities Programs designed to support and complement the institution's academic mission and enhance the educational experience of students, individually and through student groups. Includes exposure to and participation in social, cultural, recreational, intellectual, and governance activities.
Student and Academic Affairs and Other Education Services Occupations An occupational category based on the following three minor groups in the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Manual:  1) Pre-school, Primary, Secondary, and Special Education School Teachers (http://www.bls.gov/soc/2010/soc250000.htm#25-2000); 2) Other Teachers and Instructors (http://www.bls.gov/soc/2010/soc250000.htm#25-3000); and 3) Other Education, Training, and Library Occupations (http://www.bls.gov/soc/2010/soc250000.htm#25-9000).
Student counts The number of individuals for whom instruction is provided in an educational program under the jurisdiction of a school or educational institution.
Student Financial Aid (SFA) This annual component of IPEDS began with a pilot test in 1999, and collected both institution price and student financial aid data. The 2000-01 data collection included questions regarding the total number of full-time first-time degree/certificate-students receiving financial assistance for the previous year, the number of those students who received financial assistance by type of aid, and, for aid recipients, the average amounts. The tuition and other price items are now part of the Institutional Characteristics (IC) component; the student financial aid questions remain part of SFA.
Student Right-to-Know Act Also known as the "Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act" (P.L. 101-542), which was passed by Congress November 9, 1990. Title I, Section 103, requires institutions eligible for Title IV funding to calculate completion or graduation rates of certificate- or degree-seeking, full-time students entering that institution, and to disclose these rates to all students and prospective students. Further, Section 104 requires each institution that participates in any Title IV program and is attended by students receiving athletically-related student aid to submit a report to the Secretary of Education annually. This report is to contain, among other things, graduation/completion rates of all students as well as students receiving athletically-related student aid by race/ethnicity and gender and by sport, and the average completion or graduation rate for the four most recent years. These data are also required to be disclosed to parents, coaches, and potential student athletes when the institution offers athletically-related student aid. The Graduation Rates component of IPEDS was developed specifically to help institutions respond to these requirements. See Graduation Rates for the current description of data collected.
Student services A functional expense category that includes expenses for admissions, registrar activities, and activities whose primary purpose is to contribute to students emotional and physical well-being and to their intellectual, cultural, and social development outside the context of the formal instructional program. Examples include student activities, cultural events, student newspapers, intramural athletics, student organizations, supplemental instruction outside the normal administration, and student records. Intercollegiate athletics and student health services may also be included except when operated as self-supporting auxiliary enterprises. Also may include information technology expenses related to student service activities if the institution separately budgets and expenses information technology resources(otherwise these expenses are included in institutional support.) Institutions include actual or allocated costs for operation and maintenance of plant, interest, and depreciation.
Student services (expense -- GASB aligned form reporters) A functional expense category that includes expenses for admissions, registrar activities, and activities whose primary purpose is to contribute to students emotional and physical well - being and to their intellectual, cultural, and social development outside the context of the formal instructional program. Examples include student activities, cultural events, student newspapers, intramural athletics, student organizations, supplemental instruction outside the normal administration, and student records. Intercollegiate athletics and student health services may also be included except when operated as self - supporting auxiliary enterprises. Also may include information technology expenses related to student service activities if the institution separately budgets and expenses information technology resources(otherwise these expenses are included in institutional support.) GASB institutions include actual or allocated costs for operation and maintenance of plant and depreciation.
Student-to-faculty ratio The ratio of FTE students to FTE instructional staff, i.e., students divided by staff.

Students enrolled in "stand-alone" graduate or professional programs and instructional staff teaching in these programs are excluded from both full-time and part-time counts.

"Stand-alone" graduate or professional programs are those programs such as medicine, law, veterinary, dentistry, social work, or public health, in which faculty teach virtually only graduate-level students (also referred to as "independent" programs).

Each FTE value is equal to the number of full-time students/staff plus 1/3 the number of part-time students/staff.
Study abroad Arrangement by which a student completes part of the college program studying in another country. Can be at a campus abroad or through a cooperative agreement with some other U.S. college or an institution of another country.
Subcohort A predefined subset of the initial cohort or the revised cohort established for tracking purposes on the Graduation Rates (GR) component of IPEDS. (e.g., bachelor's degree-seeking subcohort.)
Summer session A summer session is shorter than a regular session and is not considered part of the academic year. It is not the third term of an institution operating on a trimester system or the fourth term of an institution operating on a quarter calendar system. The institution may have two or more sessions occurring in the summer months. Some schools, such as vocational and beauty schools, have year-round classes with no separate summer session.
Supplementary Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) (Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, Title IV, Part A, Subpart 2, Public Laws 89-329, 92-318, 94-482, et al; 20 USC 1070b-1070b-3.) Provides eligible undergraduate postsecondary students with demonstrated financial need with grant assistance to help meet educational expenses. The Supplementary Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) are made directly to institutions of higher education, which select students for the awards.
Survey status A designation used by survey operations personnel to identify the progress made on the various IPEDS components by institutional respondents. Status indicators
System An organization of two or more institutions of higher education under the control or supervision of a common administrative governing body. Governing bodies generally have the power to act in their own name, to hire and fire personnel, enter into contracts, etc. A coordinating body without these powers or a section of a state agency usually would not be considered a system office.

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