Office of Institutional Research

Data Glossary

(Unless otherwise noted, all definitions are from IPEDS.)

Academic year: The period of time generally extending from September to June; usually equated to 2 semesters or trimesters, 3 quarters, or the period covered by a 4-1-4 calendar system.

Associate's degree: An award that normally requires at least 2 but less than 4 years of full-time equivalent college work.

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.

Census Day: (Xavier Definition) Census day is the official date used by the University to report enrollment statistics.  Census day for fall and spring terms is the second Thursday following the last day to drop/add for full-term classes.  For the summer term, census day is the second Thursday of August (check out census dates here). 

Cohort: A specific group of students established for tracking purposes.

Cohort year: The year that a cohort of students begins attending college.

Completer: A student who receives a degree, diploma, certificate, or other recognized postsecondary credential. In order to be considered a completer, the degree/award must actually be conferred.

Credit: Recognition of attendance or performance in an instructional activity (course or program) that can be applied by a recipient toward the requirements for a postsecondary degree, diploma, certificate, or other recognized postsecondary credential, irrespective of the activity's unit of measurement.

Credit course: A course that, if successfully completed, can be applied toward the number of courses required for achieving a postsecondary degree, diploma, certificate, or other recognized postsecondary credential, irrespective of the activity's unit of measurement.

Credit hour: A unit of measure representing the equivalent of an hour (50 minutes) of instruction per week over the entire term. It is applied toward the total number of credit hours needed for completing the requirements of a degree, diploma, certificate, or other recognized postsecondary credential.

Degree: An award conferred by a college, university, or other postsecondary education institution as official recognition for the successful completion of a program of studies.

Degree/certificate-seeking students: Students enrolled in courses for credit who are seeking a degree, certificate, or other recognized postsecondary credential. This includes students who: 

-received any type of federal financial aid, regardless of what courses they took at any time;
-received any state or locally based financial aid with an eligibility requirement that the student be enrolled in a degree, certificate, or transfer-seeking program; or
- obtained a student visa to study at a U.S. postsecondary institution

High school students also enrolled in postsecondary courses for credit are not considered degree/certificate-seeking.

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 (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.

Endowment funds: Funds whose principal is nonexpendable (true endowment) and that are intended to be invested to provide earnings for institutional use. Also includes term endowments and funds functioning as endowment.

Endowment income: Endowment income includes: (1) the unrestricted income of endowment and similar funds; (2) restricted income of endowment and similar funds to the extent expended for current operating purposes, and (3) income from funds held in trust by others under irrevocable trusts. Excludes capital gains or losses unless the institution has adopted a spending formula by which it expends not only the yield but also a prudent portion of the appreciation of the principal. Does not include gains spent for current operations, which are treated as transfers.

Endowment net assets: Gross investments of endowment funds, term endowment funds, and funds functioning as endowment for the institution and any of its foundations and other affiliated organizations and component units reduced by the value of endowment-related liabilities.

Faculty: Persons identified by the institution as such and typically those whose initial assignments are made for the purpose of conducting instruction, research or public service as a principal activity (or activities). They may hold academic rank titles of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, instructor, lecturer or the equivalent of any of those academic ranks. Faculty may also include the chancellor/president, provost, vice provosts, deans, directors or the equivalent, as well as associate deans, assistant deans and executive officers of academic departments (chairpersons, heads or the equivalent) if their principal activity is instruction combined with research and/or public service. The designation as 'faculty' is separate from the activities to which they may be currently assigned. For example, a newly appointed president of an institution may also be appointed as a faculty member. Graduate, instruction, and research assistants are not included in this category.

First-time student (undergraduate): A student who has no prior postsecondary experience (except as noted below) attending any institution for the first time at the undergraduate level. This includes students enrolled in academic or occupational programs. It also includes students enrolled in the fall term who attended college for the first time in the prior summer session, and students who entered with advanced standing (college credits or recognized postsecondary credential earned before graduation from high school).

FTE staff: The full-time-equivalent (FTE) of staff is calculated by summing the total number of full-time staff from the Employees by Assigned Position (EAP) component and adding one-third of the total number of part-time staff.

Full-time staff: As defined by the institution. The type of appointment at the snapshot date determines whether an employee is full-time or part-time. The employee's term of contract is not considered in making the determination of full- or part-time.

FTE of students: The full-time equivalent (FTE) of students is a single value providing a meaningful combination of full-time and part-time students

Graduate student: A student who holds a bachelor's degree or above and is taking courses at the postbaccalaureate level. These students may or may not be enrolled in graduate programs.

Graduation Rates: The rate required for disclosure and/or reporting purposes under Student Right-to-Know Act. This rate is calculated as the total number of completers within 150% of normal time divided by the revised adjusted cohort. Data are collected 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; the number that transfer to other institutions if transfer is part of the institution's mission.

GASB (Governmental Accounting Standards Board): The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) establishes accounting standards for local and state entities including governmental colleges and universities.

Instructional Staff: An occupational category that is comprised of staff who are either: 1) Primarily Instruction or 2) Instruction combined with research and/or public service.  The intent of the Instructional Staff category is to include all individuals whose primary occupation includes instruction at the institution.

Students enrolled in "stand-alone" graduate or professional programs and instructional staff teaching in these programs are excluded from both full-time and part-time counts. "Stand-alone" graduate or professional programs are those programs such as medicine, law, veterinary, dentistry, social work, or public health, in which faculty teach virtually only graduate-level students (also referred to as "independent" programs).

Each FTE value is equal to the number of full-time students/staff plus 1/3 the number of part-time students/staff.

Master’s Degree: An award that requires the successful completion of a program of study of at least the full-time equivalent of 1 but not more than 2 academic years of work beyond the bachelor's degree. 

New hires: Persons who were hired for full-time permanent employment either for the first time (new to the institution) or after a break in service between November 1, 2020 and October 31, 2021 - the dates are subject to change depending on IPEDS 2021-22 collection year. Does not include persons who have returned from sabbatical leave OR full-time Postsecondary Staff who are working less-than-9-month contracts.

Noncredit course: A course or activity having no credit applicable toward a degree,  diploma,  certificate,  or other recognized postsecondary credential.

Non-degree-seeking student: A student enrolled in courses for credit who is not recognized by the institution as seeking a degree or recognized postsecondary credential.

Nonoperating: Nonoperating activities are those outside the activities that are part of the operating activities of the institution. Most government appropriations are nonoperating because they are not generated by the operations of the institution. Investment income is nonoperating in most instances because institutions are not engaged in investing as an operating activity. Gifts are defined as nonoperating. Nonexchange transactions generate nonoperating revenues.

Not on tenure track: Personnel positions that are considered non-tenure earning positions.

Operating: GASB requires that revenues and expenses be separated between operating and nonoperating. Operating revenues and expenses result from providing goods and services. Operating transactions are incurred in the course of the operating activities of the institution.

Part-time staff: As determined by the institution. The type of appointment at the snapshot date determines whether an employee is full-time or part-time. The employee's term of contract is not considered in making the determination of full- or part-time. Casual employees (hired on an ad-hoc basis or occasional basis to meet short-term needs) and students in the College Work-Study Program (CWS) are not considered part-time staff.

Part-time student: (Undergraduate) A student enrolled for either less than 12 semester or quarter credits, or less than 24 clock hours a week each term. (Graduate) A student enrolled for less than 9 semester or quarter credits.

Program: A combination of courses and related activities organized for the attainment of broad educational objectives as described by the institution.

Race/ethnicity: Categories developed in 1997 by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that are used to describe groups to which individuals belong, identify with, or belong in the eyes of the community. The categories do not denote scientific definitions of anthropological origins. The designations are used to categorize U.S. citizens, residents, and other eligible non-citizens.

Individuals are asked to first designate ethnicity as:

-Hispanic or Latino: A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. or

-Not Hispanic or Latino

Second, individuals are asked to indicate all races that apply among the following:

-American Indian or Alaska Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community attachment.

-Asian: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian Subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.

-Black or African American: A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.

-Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.

-White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

Race and ethnicity unknown: The category used to report students or employees whose race and ethnicity are not known.

Resident alien: A person who is not a citizen or national of the United States but who has been admitted as a legal immigrant for the purpose of obtaining permanent resident alien status (and who holds either an alien registration card (Form I-551 or I-151), a Temporary Resident Card (Form I-688), or an Arrival-Departure Record (Form I-94) with a notation that conveys legal immigrant status such as Section 207 Refugee, Section 208 Asylee, Conditional Entrant Parolee or Cuban-Haitian).

Retention rate: A measure of the rate at which students persist in their educational program at an institution, expressed as a percentage. For four-year institutions, this is the percentage of first-time bachelors (or equivalent) degree-seeking undergraduates from the previous fall who are again enrolled in the current fall. For all other institutions, this is the percentage of first-time degree/certificate-seeking students from the previous fall who either re-enrolled or successfully completed their program by the current fall.

Student Class (for undergraduates, Xavier Definition):

- Freshman: Any student who has earned 0-23 credit hours by census day of the specified term
- Sophomore: Any student who has earned 24-54 credit hours by census day of the specified term.
- Junior: Any student who has earned 55-89 credit hours by census day of the specified term.
- Senior: Any student who has earned 90 or more credit hours by census day of the specified term. 


Student-to-faculty ratio: The ratio of FTE students to FTE instructional staff, i.e., students divided by staff.

Undergraduate: A student enrolled in a 4- or 5-year bachelor's degree program, an associate's degree program, or a vocational or technical program below the baccalaureate.

Unduplicated count: The sum of students enrolled for credit with each student counted only once during the reporting period, regardless of when the student enrolled.