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IPEDS Changes for 2012-13 Relating to Distance Education

This Week in IPEDS  July 10, 2012

IPEDS Changes for 2012-13 Relating to Distance Education

As a reminder, the 2012-13 IPEDS data collection cycle will include several new items related to distance education. NCES has received many questions about these items and therefore would like to address the following questions and issues:

Where will these new distance education items appear?

  • In the Institutional Characteristics (IC) component, an item will collect data on whether distance education opportunities are offered and at what student level (undergraduate, graduate).
  • In the Completions (C) component, for each CIP code and award level offered, an item will collect information on whether the program is available to be completed completely through distance education.
  • In the Enrollment (EF) component, a new Part will be added to the survey to collect data on the number of students enrolled in any distance education and the number of students enrolled exclusively in distance education. Data will be broken out by student level (undergraduate, graduate) and student location (in same state as institution, in U.S. but not in same state, in the U.S. but state unknown, outside U.S.).

How can I preview these new items in the survey forms?

What are the IPEDS Definitions?

(Note: The IPEDS definitions are aligned with the definitions used by Federal Student Aid and therefore should not create disparities when reporting data to different federal agencies.)
  • Distance Education: Education that uses one or more technologies to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor and to support regular and substantive interaction between the students and the instructor synchronously or asynchronously. Technologies used for instruction may include the following: Internet; one-way and two-way transmissions through open broadcasts, closed circuit, cable, microwave, broadband lines, fiber optics, satellite or wireless communication devices; audio conferencing; and video cassette, DVDs, and CD-ROMs, if the cassette, DVDs, and CD-ROMs are used in a course in conjunction with the technologies listed above.
  • Distance Education Course: A course in which the instructional content is delivered exclusively via distance education.
  • Distance Education Program: A program for which all the required coursework for program completion is able to be completed via distance education courses.
  • Correspondence Education: Education provided through one or more courses in which the institution provides instructional materials and examinations by mail or electronic transmission to students who are separated from the instruction. Interaction between the instructor and the student is not regular and substantive, and it is primarily initiated by the student. Correspondence courses are typically self-paced. Correspondence education is not distance education.

Are additional resources available?

  • The Association for Institutional Research (AIR) is preparing a web tutorial to provide additional assistance on this topic.
  • Please feel free to contact the IPEDS Help Desk with any questions or concerns.

A complete description of the changes for 2012-13 is available at:

IPEDS Help Desk
Toll-Free 1-877-225-2568

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