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Our glossary terms and concepts cover details based on questions we receive frequently and topics addressed in everyday discussion.  For a comprehensive list of definitions, feel free to visit the glossary for Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).



Ad Hoc Reports: Specialized internal reports provided by IRP and the Registrar's Office

Admission Reports:


Bachelor's Degree: An award (baccalaureate or equivalent degree, as determined by the Secretary, U.S. Department of Education) that normally requires at least 4 but not more than 5 years of full-time equivalent college-level work. This includes all bachelor's degrees conferred in a 5-year cooperative (work-study) program. A cooperative plan provides for alternate class attendance and employment in business, industry, or government; thus, it allows students to combine actual work experience with their college studies. Also includes bachelor's degrees in which the normal 4 years of work are completed in 3 years.


Carnegie Classification: institutional classification coding structure; see Andrew W. Carnegie Foundation for classification categories.

Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: six-digit code which identifies instructional programs within educatinal institutions

Cohort: A specified group of students used for tracking purposes (e.g., for Graduation Rates)

College Navigator: A web tool that provides selected IPEDS data to assist students, parents, high school counselors, and others obtain information about nearly 7,000 postsecondary institutions in the United States and other areas. It offers a wide range of information including programs offered, retention and graduation rates, aid available, campus safety, accreditation, and estimated student expenses. NOTE: Replaces the College Opportunities Online Locator (IPEDS COOL).

Comparison Group: (also see, Peer Comparisons) The group of peer institutions used for comparison purposes within the IPEDS Peer Analysis System (PAS). Comparison groups may be identified by the analyst by name or UnitID, they may be built by using characteristics (variables) from the IPEDS data, or they may be automatically generated by the system. Also referred to as a peer group.

Common Data Set:

Control (of institution): A classification of whether an institution is operated by publicly elected or appointed officials (public control) or by privately elected or appointed officials and derives its major source of funds from private sources (private control).

Core Revenues: Total revenues for the essential education activities of the institution. Core revenues for public institutions (using the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) standards) include tuition and fees; government appropriations (federal, state, and local); government grants and contracts; private gifts, grants, and contracts; investment income; other operating and nonoperating sources; and other revenues and additions. Core revenues for private, not-for-profit and public institutions reporting under the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) standards include tuition and fees; government appropriations (federal, state, and local); government grants and contracts; private gifts, grants, and contracts; investment return; sales and services of educational activities; and other sources. Core revenues for private, for-profit institutions reporting under FASB standards include tuition and fees; government appropriations (federal, state, and local); government grants and contracts; private grants and contracts; net investment income; sales and services of educational activities; and other sources. In general, core revenues exclude revenues from auxiliary enterprises (e.g., bookstores, dormitories), hospitals, and independent operations.


Dashboard: A collection of key performance indicators      

Degree/certificate-seeking students: Students enrolled in courses for credit and are recognized by the home institution as seeking a degree, certificate, or other award; excludes high school students enrolled in postsecondary courses

Degree of urbanization (urban-centric locale): A code representing the urbanicity (city/suburb/rural) by population size of the institution’s location. This urban-centric locale code was assigned through a methodology developed by the U.S. Census Bureau's Population Division in 2005. The urban-centric locale codes apply current geographic concepts to the original NCES Locale codes used on IPEDS files through 2004. View IPEDS Glossary for code listings.

Department Chair Reports:



Faculty and Staff:

Full-time instructional faculty: members of instructional and research staff who are employed full time, whose regular workload includes: instruction, research, and/or public service.

Full-time staff (employees):

Fact Book: (also see, Planning and Reference Fact Book)

Full-time Equivalent (FTE):

Student FTE (Full-time Equivalent): (used to report internal FTE)

This is a calculation to determine, of the students selected for headcount purposes, what the equivalent full-time students would be. This takes in to account that full-time hours for an undergraduate student is 15 and full-time hours for a graduate student is 12. The hours are totaled by student regardless of the level of the courses, i.e. if an undergraduate student is taking a graduate course, then it still counts in with the other hours the student is taking. Because this is data that is captured on the student level, it is usually broken out by level, major, race, gender, or other student demographic data fields. Therefore, the calculation is as follows:

  1. Undergraduate FTE = number of hours taken by an undergraduate student ÷ 15 
  2. Graduate FTE = number of hours taken by a graduate student ÷ 12

Course FTE (Full-time Equivalent): (used by the CHE to calculate FTE by institution)
This calculation is different from the calculation above because it calculates FTE on the course level dependent upon the levels of the students in the courses. Here is a typical course record:

A B C D E= C x D F G=E÷F
Course Student Level Number of Students at this Level Course Credit Student Credit Hours Divisor (15 for UG/12 for Grad) FTE
ACCT-560-090 U 5 3 15 15 1.00
ACCT-560-090 G 10 3 30 12 2.50

As shown on this table, each course record is split if there is more than one level of students enrolled so that the FTE divisor (column F) can be correctly applied. The total FTE for ACCT-560-090 in this example would be 3.50. Because this is data that is captured on the course level, it is usually broken out by course, subject, department, school, or IPEDS code.


Graduation Rates: Based on the number of students entering the institution as full-time, first-time, degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students in a particular year (cohort), by race/ethnicity and gender; the number completing their program within 150 percent of normal time to completion


Headcount (also see, Student Headcount):

Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA):


Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS): a system of interrelated surveys conducted annually by the U.S. Department's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) which gathers information information from very college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs.  These institutions report data on enrollments, program completions, graduation rates, faculty and staff, finances, institutional prices, and student financial aid.  These data are made available through the College Navigator Web site and the IPEDS Data Center.








Planning and Reference Fact Book: This annual publication contains current and historical facts on a variety of measures.  These data can be queried by parameters and used to find needed information.


Quick Facts: A condensed, go-to collection of facts found in the Planning and Reference Fact Book.



Staff: see "Faculty and Staff"

Strategic Planning Scorecard: A historical and evoloving repository of data tracking the College of Charleston's 10 Strategic Plan strategies and all 94 tactics. 

Student Headcount: The number of students enrolled in a particular term at the time that official enrollment is captured.

Student Right-To-Know:


Title II: