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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
Institutional Characteristics (IC) This annual component is the core of the IPEDS system is and is required of all currently operating Title IV postsecondary institutions in the United States and other areas. As the control file for the entire IPEDS system, IC constitutes the sampling frame for all other NCES surveys of postsecondary institutions. It also helps determine the specific IPEDS screens that are shown to each institution. This component collects the basic institutional data that are necessary to sort and analyze not only the IC DATA, but also all other IPEDS DATAs. IC data are collected for the academic year, which generally extends from September of one calendar year to June of the following year. Specific data elements currently collected for each institution include: institution name, address, telephone number, control or affiliation, calendar system, levels of degrees and awards offered, types of programs, application information, student services, and accreditation. The IC component also collects pricing information including tuition and required fees, room and board charges, books and supplies and other expenses for release on College Navigator.
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National Center for Education Statistics -
U.S. Department of Education