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Institutional responsibility for reporting race and ethnicity to IPEDS

The Final Guidance (PDF, 200 KB) on Maintaining, Collecting, and Reporting Racial and Ethnic Data to the U.S. Department of Education specifies that institutions must collect race and ethnicity using the new categories no later than the fall of 2010, in order to report data for the 2010-11 school year.

This means that, at a minimum, students and staff new to the institution for 2010-11 must be asked to identify their race and ethnicity using the new 2-part question, and the institution must report those individuals using the new categories for both Fall Enrollment and Human Resources reporting in the 2010-11 IPEDS data collection. It is important to note that though institutions are required to ask individuals to identify their race and ethnicity, individuals are not required to provide that information.

Institutions are not required to resurvey continuing students and existing staff, nor are they required to map the old race and ethnicity information on file for individuals to the new categories. If an institution has not done either of these, the percentage of race and ethnicity unknown individuals among continuing students and existing staff may be quite high, but can be expected to decrease with time. Institutions that have resurveyed or mapped may also find an increase in the unknown category, if individuals decline to self-identify.

New edits for high percentages of race and ethnicity unknown individuals have been instituted in all IPEDS components collecting these data this year. No institution is expected to have 100% race and ethnicity unknown. Please make sure, if your institution’s data receives an edit for a high percentage of race and ethnicity unknown, that you are familiar with your responsibilities in this area, and that you can explain the steps you have already taken to be in compliance with requirements outlined in the Final Guidance. For more information on the requirements and assistance with the transition, see the IPEDS Race/Ethnicity Information Center.