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Proposed Changes to IPEDS Forms 2008-09 — 2010-11

The following changes are being requested from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to be effective beginning with the 2008-09 IPEDS data collection.  Unless otherwise indicated, following IPEDS policy, the changes or additions would be optional in the first year (2008-09) and mandatory in subsequent years; see specific items for exceptions.  Please see the January 29 Federal Register posting (Volume 73, Number 19, Page 5179) regarding a 60-day comment period on these changes at:

Note:  Congress is actively engaged in the process of reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA), with the prospect of legislation being passed this year.  NCES has chosen not to propose changes in IPEDS at this time in areas in which Congress may impose new reporting requirements, such as calculations of net price of attendance and graduation rates for particular categories of students.  The IPEDS data collection proposed in the Federal Register notice may need to be modified at a later point in light of Congressional action on HEA. Any subsequent modifications to the IPEDS data collection would be made only with the approval of OMB after a period of public comment.

 (1)   Collect more detailed student financial aid data

(IPEDS component affected:  Student Financial Aid)

Institutions now report all federal student grants provided to full-time, first-time students to IPEDS rather than distinguishing between Pell grants and other grants. It is important for the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) to be able to differentiate how students at different institutions are using particular federal grant programs. Likewise, all loans are now reported together in IPEDS, regardless of source.  Given the substantial expansion of private loans, OPE requests more categories of loans to those awarded by the federal government from those from outside sources. These changes to how student financial aid data are collected in IPEDS also address recommendations made by the Secretary’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education to improve financial transparency by institutions and provide more information on college costs to consumers. The data will be displayed on College Navigator to help accomplish this goal. The proposed changes in categories are detailed on the following page: 

    Data collected
for full-time, first-
time cohort
Current SFA Categories Proposed SFA Categories Number of recipients Amount Received
Any aid Any aid X  
  Any grant X X
  Any loan X X
Federal grants  Pell grants
Other federal grants
State/local grants State/local grants X X
Institutional grants Institutional grants X X
Loans Federal loans
Other loans

(2)   Eliminate first-professional degree category

(IPEDS components affected:  Institutional Characteristics, Completions, 12-Month Enrollment, and Fall Enrollment)

NCES has received with increasing frequency questions from the higher education community about the first-professional degree classification. Specifically, concerns were raised that due to changes in graduate education, the category of a first-professional degree has become outmoded. In addition, it has become increasingly important to be able to distinguish research-focused doctoral degrees from professionally focused doctoral degrees, such as a Doctor of Physical Education or a Doctor of Fine Arts.

Based on the suggestions from the IPEDS Technical Review Panel and comments from additional members of the higher education community, the revised categories for degrees are outlined in the table below:

Current Award Categories (Baccalaureate and above) New Award Categories
(Baccalaureate and above)
Bachelor’s degree Bachelor’s degree
Postbaccalaureate certificate Postbaccalaureate certificate
Master’s degree Master’s degree
Post-master’s certificate
First-professional certificate (Post-degree)
Post-master’s certificate(Combines current post-master’s and first-professional certificates into one category.)
Doctor’s degree    Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship
Doctor’s degree – professional practice
Doctor’s degree - other
First-professional degree Eliminated


The new degree categories will be defined as follows:

Doctor’s degree - research/scholarship - A Ph.D. or other doctor's degree that requires advanced work beyond the master’s level, including the preparation and defense of a dissertation based on original research, or the planning and execution of an original project demonstrating substantial artistic or scholarly achievement. Some examples of this type of degree may include Ed.D., D.M.A., D.B.A., D.Sc., D.A., or D.M, and others, as designated by the awarding institution.

Doctor’s degree - professional practice - A doctor’s degree that is conferred upon completion of a program providing the knowledge and skills for the recognition, credential, or license required for professional practice. The degree is awarded after a period of study such that the total time to the degree, including both pre-professional and professional preparation, equals at least six full-time equivalent academic years. Some of these degrees were formerly classified as “first-professional” and may include: Chiropractic (D.C. or D.C.M.); Dentistry (D.D.S. or D.M.D.); Law (L.L.B. or J.D.); Medicine (M.D.); Optometry (O.D.); Osteopathic Medicine (D.O); Pharmacy (Pharm.D.); Podiatry (D.P.M., Pod.D., D.P.); or, Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.), and others, as designated by the awarding institution.

Doctor’s degree - other - A doctor’s degree that does not meet the definition of a doctor’s degree - research/scholarship or a doctor’s degree - professional practice.

Master's degree - An award that requires the successful completion of a program of study of generally one or two full-time equivalent academic years of work beyond the bachelor's degree. Some of these degrees, such as those in Theology (M.Div., M.H.L./Rav) that were formerly classified as "first-professional", may require more than two full-time equivalent academic years of work.

Four components of the IPEDS collection will be affected by these changes: Institutional Characteristics, Completions, 12-Month Enrollment and the Fall Enrollment components.  NCES will implement the new definitions and categories for reporting Institutional Characteristics and Fall Enrollment information with the 2008-09 data collection year. As with all changes to IPEDS, the first collection year would be optional, and the second year use of the new definition would be mandatory. For Completions and 12-Month Enrollment data, implementation of the new categories would begin in the 2009-10 data collection year (reporting on awards granted between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009) as optional, becoming mandatory the following year. For any data collections prior to the implementation date, institutions should continue to report data on first-professional degree programs under the existing definition.

(3)   Revise IPEDS Finance

(IPEDS components affected: Finance)

On January 17-18, 2007, RTI International, the contractor for the IPEDS web-based data collection system, convened a meeting of the IPEDS Technical Review Panel (TRP) in Washington, DC, to discuss future enhancements to IPEDS finance forms to increase commonality and comparability of the data collected. The panel members included 46 individuals representing institutions, national associations, state governments, the federal government, and others. 

The TRP members reviewed the IPEDS Finance component forms and reviewed all of the data elements currently being collected.  The participants agreed that in order to increase the comparability across the IPEDS finance forms, it would be necessary to modify the forms and redefine some of the data elements being collected.  The resulting data would have greater usefulness and would improve financial transparency of the institutional finance data being reported.

Based on the panel members’ suggestions, NCES proposes the following changes to IPEDS Finance forms:

IPEDS Finance form for institutions that use FASB:

  1. Add the following categories to Part A – Statement of Financial Position:
    1. Assets:
      1. Property, Plant, and Equipment
      2. Accumulated Depreciation
      3. Intangible assets, net of accumulated amortization
      4. Debt related to Property, Plant, and Equipment
  2. Change the categories of net assets on Part A to the following:
    1. Unrestricted net assets
    2. Temporarily restricted net assets
    3. Permanently restricted net assets
  3. 3)      Add the following categories to the Property, Plant and Equipment section (page 2) of Part A:
    1. Construction in progress
    2. Other
    3. Accumulated deprecation
  4. Delete “Property obtained under capital leases (if not included in equipment)” and clarify in the instructions to include property obtained under capital leases in the categories that best describe the property, such as equipment, buildings, etc.
  5. Add a caveats box on Part B.
  6. Pre-populate net assets at the beginning of the year (line 5 of Part B) with previous year’s collection of net assets at end of year. However, the keyholder would have the ability to overwrite it.
  7. Change the title of Part C from “Student Grants” to “Scholarships and Fellowships” in order to be consistent with the form for GASB institutions.
  8. Change the format of Part D (Revenues) so that they are reported in 3 columns:
    1. Unrestricted
    2. Temporarily restricted
    3. Permanently restricted
    However, sales and services of auxiliary enterprises and hospitals will be reported only in unrestricted revenues.
  9. Add a revenue line for “net assets released from restriction” that can allow both positive and negative amounts.
  10. Separate “Private gifts, grants, and contracts” to allow gifts to be reported separately from private grants and contracts.
  11. Add a field to Part E (Expenses) indicating what percentage of instruction expenses are associated with credit-bearing instruction versus non-credit instruction.
  12. Add an instruction to the screen clarifying that the endowment assets of foundations and affiliated entities should be included in reporting of Part H – Details of Endowment Assets.

IPEDS Finance form for institutions that use GASB:

  1. Change line 2 of Part A – Statement of Net Assets to read “Capital Assets, net of depreciation” and delete the line for accumulated depreciation.
  2. Change the second page of Part A as follows:
    1. Change title to “Part A – Capital Assets”
    2. Report only ending balance (discontinue beginning balance, additions, and retirements)
    3. Combine “Equipment” and “art and library collections”
    4. Delete “Property obtained under capital leases (if not included in equipment)” and clarify instructions to include property obtained under capital leases in the categories that best describe the property, such as equipment, buildings, etc.
    5. Add a line for Other capital assets
    6. Add a line for “intangible assets, net of accumulated amortization” after the line for accumulated depreciation
  3. On Part B, report local operating grants and contracts separately from private operating grants and contracts
  4. Add a line for sales and services of educational activities
  5. Change Part C (Expenses and Other Deductions) to resemble the form for FASB institutions, adding columns for operation and maintenance of plant and interest, and removing the functional classification of depreciation.  Operation and maintenance (O&M) of plant as a function will be used to allocate O&M to natural classes as it is in the form for FASB institutions. In addition, removing the functional classification of depreciation will require public institutions to allocate depreciation to appropriate functional categories – as independent institutions do.
  6. Add a field to Part C (Expenses and Other Deductions) indicating what percentage of the instruction expenses are associated with credit-bearing instruction versus non-credit instruction.
  7. Parts F and G, used for reporting component units using FASB and GASB standards, will be discontinued.
  8. Add an instruction to the screen clarifying that the endowment assets of foundations and affiliated entities should be included in reporting of Part H – Details of Endowment Assets.

IPEDS Finance form for for-profit institutions:

No changes at this time

(4)   Change race/ethnicity

(IPEDS components affected:  Completions, 12-Month Enrollment, Fall Enrollment, Human Resources, and Graduation Rates)

On October 19, 2007, the U.S. Department of Education posted to the Federal Register the “Final Guidance on Maintaining, Collecting, and Reporting Racial and Ethnic Data to the U.S. Department of Education.”  (See the Federal Register, Volume 72, Number 202, pp. 59266-59279:

The proposed changes are necessary for the Department to implement the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) 1997 Standards for Maintaining, Collecting and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity.  IPEDS will adopt new aggregate categories for reporting R/E data in accordance with the final guidance. 

The guidance issued by the Department covers two separate issues: (1) the collection of R/E data by institutions and (2) the reporting of aggregate data to the Department.  For collecting R/E data, institutions must use a two-question format, and the Department encourages institutions to re-survey students and staff (the two-question format is as follows:  The first question is whether the respondent is Hispanic/Latino.  The second question is whether the respondent is from one or more races from the following list:  American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, White).  For further details on the guidance for collecting data, please see the full Federal Register notice. 

For reporting aggregate data to the Department, the guidance identifies nine categories that will be used for IPEDS.   ED’s final guidance requires separating the category “Asian or Pacific Islander” into two separate categories, one for “Asian” and one for “Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.”  Additionally, a category will be provided for reporting two or more races.  This results in seven categories for reporting aggregate racial/ethnic data: Hispanics of any race, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black not-Hispanic, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, White not-Hispanic, and two or more races.  ED’s final guidance also allows IPEDS to continue to use the two categories for reporting non-resident aliens and for reporting counts when race/ethnicity is unknown, for the reasons given below.

Non-resident aliens – IPEDS has traditionally collected data on non-resident aliens separately from U.S. citizens and resident aliens (no race data will be available for non-resident aliens); and

Race/ethnicity unknown – this category has been used in IPEDS since 1990 to provide a mechanism for reporting U.S. citizens and resident aliens who do not designate a racial/ethnic category. 

The current and new race/ethnicity categories for reporting data to IPEDS are outlined on the following page:

Current IPEDS Reporting Categories New IPEDS Reporting Categories
  1. Non-resident alien
  2. Race and ethnicity unknown
  3. Black, non-Hispanic
  4. American Indian/Alaska Native
  5. Asian/Pacific Islander
  6. Hispanic,
  7. White, non-Hispanic
  1. Nonresident aliens
  2. Race and ethnicity unknown
  3. Hispanics of any race
For non-Hispanics only:
  1. American Indian or Alaska Native
  2. Asian
  3. Black or African American
  4. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
  5. White
  6. Two or more races


Educational institutions will be required to implement this guidance in order to report data for the 2010–2011 school year. Under the guidance, although not required to do so, educational institutions already collecting individual-level data in the manner specified by the notice are encouraged to immediately begin reporting aggregate data to the Department.  However, because the 2007-08 IPEDS data collection year is already underway, the new R/E reporting categories will not be available for reporting in IPEDS until the 2008-09 collection year, which begins in Fall 2008. 

The IPEDS Technical Review Panel (TRP) discussed the implementation of changes to race/ethnicity reporting in IPEDS in November 2006 after the Department issued preliminary guidance on August 6, 2006. Based on suggestions from that meeting of the TRP, changes to reporting race/ethnicity in IPEDS will be fully implemented as outlined below.

  • 2008-09 and 2009-10 Collection Years
    Optional years for all components: Reporting using new race/ethnic categories will be voluntary: All five relevant IPEDS components (Fall Enrollment, Human Resources, Completions, 12-Month Enrollment, and Graduation Rates) will allow a combination of current and new race/ethnic submissions, and therefore IPEDS components would have five current race/ethnic categories plus seven new race/ethnic categories plus two remaining categories (“Race and Ethnicity Unknown” and “Non-resident alien”) — a combined “5+7+2 format”.  Although the desire is that institutions will be able to collect and report the new race/ethnic data at this time, institutions would have the option to submit data using any of the following approaches:
    1. Exclusively use seven new race/ethnic categories for everyone at the institution
    2. Exclusively current five race/ethnic categories for everyone at the institution
    3. Use “mixed reporting” - current categories for some individuals and new categories for others. The anticipation is that few institutions would select this option since it will be the most complex.
  • 2010-11 Collection Year
    • Mandatory year for Fall Enrollment and Human Resources: Reporting using new race/ethnicity categories will be required.
    • Optional year for Completions, 12-Month Enrollment, and Graduation Rates: Reporting using the new categories will remain optional; data in these components will be collected using the 5+7+2 format.

  • 2011-12 and Beyond Collection Years
    Mandatory years for all IPEDS components: Institutions will be required to report using only the new race/ethnicity categories.
In the years with components that have optional reporting, institutions can report one way for one IPEDS component and another for other IPEDS components. The expectation is that most will report using new race/ethnic categories for Completions, 12-Month Enrollment, and Graduation Rates the year after they report using new race/ethnic categories for Fall Enrollment and Human Resources.  The following table summarizes the proposed reporting timeline.

Proposed Timeline for Reporting Race/Ethnicity Data to IPEDS
IPEDS Collection Year Fall Enrollment and Human Resources Completions, 12-Month Enrollment,and Graduation Rates
2008-09 and 2009-10 mixed format (5+7+2) mixed format (5+7+2)
2010-11 new format (7+2) only mixed format (5+7+2)
2011-12 and beyond new format (7+2) only new format (7+2) only
“5” includes:  Black, non-Hispanic; American Indian/Alaska Native; Asian/Pacific Islander; Hispanic; White, non-Hispanic
“7” includes:  Hispanics of any race; For non-Hispanics only: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, White, Two or more races
“2” includes: Race and Ethnicity Unknown and Nonresident Alien
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National Center for Education Statistics -
U.S. Department of Education