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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
Teacher certification program A program designed to prepare students to meet the requirements for certification as teachers in elementary, middle/junior high, and secondary schools.
Teachers colleges (Carnegie) An institutional classification developed by the Andrew W. Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Teachers Colleges award most of their bachelor's or graduate degrees in education or education-related fields. Carnegie Classification
Specialized institutions (Carnegie)
Technical and paraprofessional

A primary function or occupational activity category used to classify persons whose assignments require specialized knowledge or skills which may be acquired through experience, apprenticeship, on-the-job-training, or academic work in occupationally specific programs that result in a 2-year degree or other certificate or diploma. Includes persons who perform some of the duties of a professional in a supportive role, which usually requires less formal training and/or experience than normally required for professional status. Includes mathematical technicians; life, physical, and social science technicians; agricultural and food science technicians; chemical technicians; geological and petroleum technicians; nuclear technicians; paralegals and legal assistants; miscellaneous legal support workers; health technologists and technicians; dietetic technicians; pharmacy technicians; licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses; medical records and health information technicians; opticians, dispensing; healthcare support occupations; nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants; physical therapist assistants and aides; massage therapists; dental assistants; medical assistants; and pharmacy aides.

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

Temporarily restricted Net assets of FASB institutions whose use by the institution has been limited by donor specification as to use or the time when use may occur (such as a later period of time or after specified events have occurred).
Tenure Status of a personnel position with respect to permanence of the position.
Tenure track Personnel positions that lead to consideration for tenure.
Term endowment funds Funds for which the donor has stipulated that the principal may be expended after a stated period or on the occurrence of a certain event.
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) The standardized test designed to determine an applicant's ability to benefit from instruction in English.
Theological seminaries and other specialized faith-related institutions (Carnegie) An institutional classification developed by the Andrew W. Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Theological seminaries and other specialized faith-related institutions primarily offer religious instruction or train members of the clergy. Carnegie Classification
Specialized institutions (Carnegie)
Title Use the ANSI/NISO Z39.7-2004 definition for title as follows: The designation of a separate bibliographic whole, whether issued in one or several parts. A book or serial title may be distinguished from other such titles by its unique International Standard Book Number (ISBN) or International Standard Serial Number (ISSN). This definition applies equally to print, electronic, audiovisual, and other library materials. For unpublished works, the term is used to designate a manuscript collection or an archival record series. Two subscriptions to Science magazine, for example, are counted as one title.
Title IV aid Title IV aid to students includes grant aid, work study aid, and loan aid. These include: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG), National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant), Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant, Federal Work-Study, Federal Perkins Loan, Subsidized Direct or FFEL Stafford Loan, and Unsubsidized Direct or FFEL Stafford Loan.
Title IV institution An institution that has a written agreement with the Secretary of Education that allows the institution to participate in any of the Title IV federal student financial assistance programs (other than the State Student Incentive Grant (SSIG) and the National Early Intervention Scholarship and Partnership (NEISP) programs). Program Participation Agreement (PPA)
Transcript An official record of student performance showing all schoolwork completed at a given school and the final mark or other evaluation received in each portion of the instruction. Transcripts often include an explanation of the marking scale used by the school.
Transfer of credit The policies and procedures used to determine the extent to which educational experiences or courses undertaken by a student while attending another institution may be counted for credit at the current institution.
Transfer of Entitlement Option A program through which any unused Post 9/11 GI Bill may be transferred to a spouse or dependent(s) as long as servicemembers or veterans meet the additional Department of Veterans Affairs’ criteria. Only Department of Defense (DoD) can approve transfer of benefits requests.
Transfer-in student A student entering the reporting institution for the first time but known to have previously attended a postsecondary institution at the same level (e.g., undergraduate, graduate). This includes new students enrolled in the fall term who transferred into the institution the prior summer term.  The student may transfer with or without credit.
Transfer-out rate Total number of students who are known to have transferred out of the reporting institution within 150% of normal time to completion divided by the adjusted cohort.
Transfer-out student A student that leaves the reporting institution and enrolls at another institution.
Transfer-preparatory program A program designed specifically to provide a student with the basic knowledge needed to transfer into a higher level program. For example, this may be the first 2 years of a baccalaureate level program for which the institution does not offer an award, or 2 years of undergraduate study needed for entrance into a first-professional program, or 1 or more years of undergraduate study needed for entrance into health services fields.
Transfer-ready students A student who has successfully completed a transfer-preparatory program.
Transfers from the endowment fund to the current fund The amount of the capital gains on the endowment fund that is allocated to be spent for current fund activities.
Tribal Colleges and Universities (Carnegie) An institutional classification developed by the Andrew W. Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Tribal Colleges and Universities, with few exceptions, are tribally controlled and located on reservations. They are all members of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. Carnegie Classification
Trimester (calendar system) An academic year consisting of 3 terms of about 15 weeks each.
Tuition The amount of money charged to students for instructional services. Tuition may be charged per term, per course, or per credit.
Tuition and fees (published charges) The amount of tuition and required fees covering a full academic year most frequently charged to students. These values represent what a typical student would be charged and may not be the same for all students at an institution. If tuition is charged on a per-credit-hour basis, the average full-time credit hour load for an entire academic year is used to estimate average tuition. Required fees include all fixed sum charges that are required of such a large proportion of all students that the student who does not pay the charges is an exception.
Tuition guarantee A program where the institution guarantees, to entering first-time students, that tuition will not increase for the years they are enrolled. These guarantees are generally time-bound for four or five years. First-time student (undergraduate)
Entering students (undergraduate)
Tuition payment plan A program that allows tuition to be paid in installments spread out over an agreed upon period of time, sometimes without interest or finance charges.
Tuition plan (restricted)

Plans for dependents (including spouses) of faculty members which restrict the beneficiary to attendance at only the institution where the faculty member is employed.

Term used prior to 2011-12 in the Human Resources component.

Two-year institution A postsecondary institution that offers programs of at least 2 but less than 4 years duration. Includes occupational and vocational schools with programs of at least 1800 hours and academic institutions with programs of less than 4 years. Does not include bachelor's degree-granting institutions where the baccalaureate program can be completed in 3 years.


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