NCES Blog

National Center for Education Statistics

Explore Transfer Student Data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

Transfer students who attend full time complete a degree at higher rates than those attending part time. There were 2.1 million students who transferred into a 4-year institution during the 2009-10 academic year. At public institutions, which had the majority of transfer students (1.3 million) in 2009-10, 61 percent of full-time transfers completed their degree after 8 years of entering the institution, compared to 32 percent of part-time transfers (figure 1).

 



 

While NCES data users may be more familiar with the postsecondary transfer student data in the Beginning Postsecondary Study, NCES also collects data on this topic through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) collection. IPEDS annually requires over 4,000 colleges and universities to report their transfer data starting from enrollment to completion. As defined by IPEDS, students who transfer into an institution with prior postsecondary experience–whether credit was earned or not–are considered transfer-in students. Students who leave an institution without completing their program of study and subsequently enrolled in another institution are defined as transfer-out students.

Below are some of the key data collected on student transfers through the different IPEDS survey components:

  • Fall Enrollment (EF): Transfer-in data

Collected since 2006-07, institutions report the fall census count and specific characteristics—i.e., gender, race/ethnicity, and attendance status (full and part time)—of transfer-in students.

  • Graduation Rates (GR): Transfer-out data

Collected since 1997-98, GR collects counts of students who are part of a specific first-time, full-time student cohort. Data users can calculate the transfer-out rates of first-time, full-time students by race/ethnicity and gender for each institution that reports transfer-out data. NCES requires the reporting of transfer-out data if the mission of the institution includes providing substantial preparation for students to enroll in another eligible institution without having completed a program. If it is not part of the institution’s mission, an institution has the option to report transfer-out data.

  • Outcome Measures (OM): Transfer-in and transfer-out data

Collected since 2015-16, OM collects information on entering students who are first-time students as well as non-first-time students (i.e., transfer-in students). Institutions report on the completions of transfer-in students at three points in time: at 4, 6, and 8 years. Also, any entering student who does not earn an award (i.e., certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree), leaves the institution, and subsequently enrolls in another institution is reported as a transfer-out student. Click to learn more about OM. All institutions reporting to OM must report their transfer-out students regardless of mission.

 

NCES has been collecting IPEDS for several decades, which allows for trend analysis. Check out the IPEDS Trend Generator’s quick analysis of transfer-in students' fall enrollment. Also, the National Postsecondary Education Cooperative commissioned a 2018 paper that provides a high-level examination of the most common issues regarding U.S. postsecondary transfer students and presents suggestions on how NCES could enhance its student transfer data collection. For example, one caveat to using IPEDS transfer data is that information on where students transfer from or to is not collected. This means IPEDS data cannot be used to describe the various pathways of transfer students, such as reverse, swirling, and lateral transferring.[1]. While these nuances are important in today’s transfer research, they are out of the scope of the IPEDS collection. However, IPEDS data do provide a valuable national look at transfers and at the institutions that serve them. 

 

[1] A reverse transfer is defined as a student who transfers from a high-level institution to a low-level institution (e.g., transferring from a 4-year institution to a 2-year institution). Students who take a swirling pathway move back and forth between multiple institutions. A lateral transfer student is a student who transfers to another institution at a similar level (e.g., 4-year to 4-year or 2-year to 2-year). 

 

 

By Gigi Jones

 

 

 

Classification of Instructional Programs and the 2020 Update

How many bachelor’s degrees in computer science were awarded to women last year? What is Megatronics? What colleges and universities in Rhode Island offer degree programs in Animal Science?1

These are examples of the many questions NCES receives related to fields of postsecondary study. The ability of NCES to provide information on these topics and many related questions rests on the standardized use of the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP).                         

The CIP, a taxonomy of instructional programs, provides a classification system for the thousands of different programs offered by postsecondary institutions. Its purpose is to facilitate the organization, collection, and reporting of fields of study and program completions.

NCES uses CIP Codes in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Completion Survey to report how many degrees and certificates were awarded for each field of study. Each field is represented by a 6-digit CIP code, and classified according to 2- and 4-digit prefixes of the code. Each 6-digit CIP Code includes the following elements:  Numeric Code, Title, Description, Illustrative Example and Cross Reference. For example:

 

11.1003 Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance.
A program that prepares individuals to assess the security needs of computer and network systems, recommend safeguard solutions, and manage the implementation and maintenance of security devices, systems, and procedures. Includes instruction in computer architecture, programming, and systems analysis; networking; telecommunications; cryptography; security system design; applicable law and regulations; risk assessment and policy analysis; contingency planning; user access issues; investigation techniques; and troubleshooting.

Examples: [Information Assurance], [IT Security], [Internet Security], [Network Security], [Information Systems Security]
See also: 43.0116 – Cyber/Computer Forensics and Counterterrorism

 

CIP Codes and IPEDS Completions Survey data are used by many different groups of people for many different reasons. For instance, economists use the data to study the emerging labor pools to identify people with specific training and skills. The business community uses IPEDS Completions Survey data to help recruit minority and female candidates in specialized fields, by identifying the numbers of these students who are graduating from specific institutions.  Prospective college students can use the data to look for institutions offering specific programs of postsecondary study at all levels, from certificates to doctoral degrees.

 

 

2020 CIP Update:  Call for Comments

The CIP was initiated in 1980 and has been revised four times since—in 1985, 1990, 2000, and 2010. The 2020 CIP will focus on identifying new and emerging programs of study and presenting an updated taxonomy of instructional program classifications and descriptions. A CIP code will be deleted only when there is strong evidence that it is no longer offered at any IPEDS postsecondary institutions. NCES tentatively plans to implement the CIP 2020 during the 2020–21 IPEDS collection year.

The 2020 CIP revision will be the first time that NCES has solicited comments from the general public about a planned revision. To view the 2020 CIP Federal Register Notice (FRN), please visit: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=ED-2018-IES-0126-0002Comments regarding the 2020 CIP may be submitted on the regulations.gov website no later than March 26, 2019. For questions regarding the public comment period for the CIP 2020, please email: CIP2020@ed.gov.

 

By Michelle Coon

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1How many bachelor’s degrees in computer science were awarded to women last year? A total of 4,134 women received a bachelor’s degree in computer science for the 2016–17 academic year.

What is Megatronics? A program that prepares individuals to apply mathematical and scientific principles to the design, development and operational evaluation of computer controlled electro-mechanical systems and products with embedded electronics, sensors, and actuators; and which includes, but is not limited to, automata, robots and automation systems. Includes instruction in mechanical engineering, electronic and electrical engineering, computer and software engineering, and control engineering.

What colleges and universities in Rhode Island offer degree programs in Animal Science? Only The University of Rhode Island offers degrees in Animal Science.