Santa Clara University

Institutional Research

Institutional Research Terminology

Definitions of Common Terms


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Term Definition
Academic Year The period of time generally extending from September to June, equated to three quarters and Summer sessions.
Accrediting Agency Regional or national private educational associations that assess whether institutions have met specific criteria aimed to measure quality. Institutions are accredited when the criteria are met and may then be eligible for federal benefits such as Title IV student financial aid.
ACT Scores Scores on the mathematics, English, reading, science reasoning, and composite scales of the ACT Assessment test.
Adjunct Faculty Non-tenure track faculty serving in a temporary or auxiliary capacity specific courses on a course-by-course basis.Excludes regular part-time faculty (who, unlike adjuncts are not paid on a course-by-course basis), full-time professional staff of the institution who may teach individual courses (e.g., a dean or academic advisor), and appointees who teach non-credit courses exclusively.
Admissions Applicants granted an official offer to enroll in a college or university.
Admissions Test Scores Scores on standardized admissions tests or special admissions tests.
Advanced Placement (AP) Advanced placement courses are college-level courses taught in high school. Students may take an examination at the completion of the course; students receiving acceptable scores may earn college credit.
Alumni Surveys Questionnaires administered to undergraduate, graduate, and first-professional alumni to determine their satisfaction with programs and services, as well as their current educational and employment status. Alumni are surveyed 6 months after receiving a degree from the University.
Alumnus Someone who has been awarded a degree from an educational institution.
American Indian or Alaska Native A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America and who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.  Non-Hispanic.  See IPEDS Ethnicity Reporting Rules.
Annual Expenses The total expenditures associated with tuition, required fees, room, and board for a typical undergraduate student.
Applicant An individual who has fulfilled the institution's requirements to be considered for admission, including payment of the application fee.
Asian or Pacific Islander A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, or Pacific Islands. This includes people from China, Japan, Korea, the Philippine Islands, American Samoa, India, and Vietnam.  Non-Hispanic. See IPEDS Ethnicity Reporting Rules.
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 of the U.S. Department of
Education) that normally requires at least four years but not more than five years of full-time equivalent college-level work.
This includes ALL bachelor's degrees conferred in a five-year cooperative (work-study plan) 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, it includes bachelor's degrees in which the normal four
years of work are completed in three years.
Benchmark Institutions Selected data collected from different benchmark institutions in an effort to develop meaningful comparisons between the University and its peer and aspirational institutions.
Black or African American
A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. Non-Hispanic See IPEDS Ethnicity Reporting Rules.
Carnegie Classification The Carnegie Foundation's classification system that is widely used to distinguish higher education institutions in terms of their degree programs and mission as an institution. 
Classification of Instruction Programs (CIP) Discipline Code Promulgated by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, these codes represent a nationally used, common taxonomy for the classification of higher education degree programs.A six-digit code in the form xx.xxxx that identifies instructional program specialties within educational institutions. A CIP code is assigned to each degree program at the time it is established.
Cohort A specific group of students established for tracking purposes.
Cohort Year As opposed to Survey Year. The year of the cohort of students, not the year the survey was administered in.
Common Data Set The Common Data Set (CDS) is the result of a national collaboration between publishers and academia to improve and standardize the compiling and reporting of information by academic institutions. This effort is guided in part by practices of the U.S. Department of Education. The Common Data Set includes diverse information on Santa Clara University, including: enrollments and degrees conferred, a profile of first-year students, statistics and policies on transfers, academic offerings and policies, student life, annual expenses, financial aid, faculty, and class sizes.
Concurrent Graduate Students A graduate student enrolled in more than one degree or program status during the quarter.
Continuing Professional Education Programs and courses designed specifically for individuals who have completed a professional degree (such as law, medicine, dentistry, or social work) to obtain additional training in their particular field of study.
Course History A list tracing the number of sections offered and the number of students enrolled for each course taught in recent years.
Credit Recognition of attendance or performance in an instructional activity (course of program) that can be applied by a recipient toward the requirements for a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award.
Current Funds Expenditures (and Transfers) The costs incurred for goods and services used in the conduct of the institution's operations. Includes the acquisition cost of capital assets, such as equipment and library books, to the extent current funds are budgeted for and used by operating departments for specific purposes.
Current Funds Revenues Unrestricted gifts, grants, and other resources earned during the reporting period and restricted resources received in non-exchange transactions for which any time restrictions have been met, or which have been earned in exchange transactions.
Degree An award conferred by a postsecondary education institution to recognize the successful completion of a program of studies. The number of students receiving a degree in a given year is based on awards conferred during the Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring quarters.
Degree-Seeking Students Students enrolled in courses for credit who are recognized by the institution as seeking a degree or formal award.
Distance Learning Any for-credit instruction where delivery of instruction may utilize any or all of the following: print material, e-mail, telephone, audio tape, television/VCR, satellite, or computer for access to CD ROM, interactive video, Internet, or the web. The instructor may be physically separated from the students or may meet with students intermittently throughout the term. A distance-learning course is reported as either on- or off-campus based on where the majority of the students enrolled in the course is located.
Doctoral Degree The highest award a student can earn for graduate study.
Double Major Program in which students may complete two undergraduate programs of study simultaneously.
Early Action Plan An admission plan that allows students to apply and be notified of an admission decision well in advance
of the regular notification dates. If admitted, the candidate is not committed to enroll; the student may reply to the offer
under the college's regular reply policy.
Early Decision Plan A plan that permits students to apply and be notified of an admission decision (and financial aid offer
if applicable) well in advance of the regular notification date. Applicants agree to accept an offer of admission and, if
admitted, to withdraw their applications from other colleges. There are three possible decisions for early decision applicants:
admitted, denied, or not admitted but forwarded for consideration with the regular applicant pool, without prejudice.
Employee Fringe Benefits Cash contributions in the form of supplementary or deferred compensation other than salary. Excludes the employee's contribution. Employee fringe benefits include retirement plans, social security taxes, medical/dental plans, guaranteed disability income protection plans, tuition plans, housing plans, unemployment compensation plans, group life insurance plans, worker's compensation plans, and other benefits in-kind with cash options.
Enrollment Statistics The number of students attending the University, sorted according to student characteristics such as age, gender, full-time/part-time status, race/ethnicity, and residence. Headcounts are based on the number of students enrolled during the Fall Quarter.
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, associate 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.
Fellowship A non-service award made to academically superior graduate students to assist them in the pursuit of an advanced degree. This award carries a monthly stipend and usually covers tuition costs. All stipends are taxable income.
Financial Aid Monetary support in the form of loans, grants and scholarships provided to students to pay for their college educations.
First-Professional Degree An award that requires completion of a program that meets all of the following criteria: (1) completion of the academic requirements to begin a profession; (2) at least 2 years of college work prior to entering the program; and (3) a total of at least 6 academic years of college work to complete the degree program, including prior required college work plus the length of the professional program itself.
First-Time Transfer Student A degree-seeking student entering the reporting institution for the first time but known to have previously attended a postsecondary institution at the same level.
First-Time Undergraduate Student An undergraduate student who has not previously attended any postsecondary institution or who attended postsecondary level courses as a high school student and is currently enrolled for the first time since high school graduation.
First-Time, First-Year Student A student attending any institution for the first time at the undergraduate level. Includes students enrolled in the fall term who attended college for the first time in the prior summer term. Also includes students who entered with college credits earned before graduation from high school.
Freshman A first-year undergraduate student.
Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Employee A numerical designator for an appointment based on 100% for full time. An FTE for a full-time employee is 1.00. (Two people each serving in half-time faculty positions would equal, together, one FTE faculty position.)
Full-Time Student (Undergraduate) A student enrolled for 12 or more quarter credits each term.
Grade-point average The sum of grade points a student has earned in secondary school divided by the number of courses taken.Four points for an
A, three points for a B, two points for a C, one point for a D, and no points for a F.
Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) A standardized test that graduate business schools use to evaluate candidates. The verbal section of the GMAT measures the ability to understand and analyze written material, and the ability to recognize and conform to the conventions of standard written English. The quantitative section measures a person's ability to reason quantitatively, solve mathematical problems, and interpret data presented in graphical form. The analytical writing section measures a person's ability to effectively communicate ideas through writing and the ability to critically assess an argument.
Graduate Record Examination (GRE) The General test is composed of the verbal, quantitative, and analytical/ analytical writing sections. The verbal section measures your ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it, to analyze relationships among component parts of sentences, to recognize relationships between words and concepts, and to reason with words in solving problems. The quantitative section measures your basic mathematical skills, your understanding of elementary mathematical concepts, and your ability to reason quantitatively and solve problems in a quantitative setting. The analytical writing section is a new section introduced beginning in October 2002 that tests your critical thinking and analytical writing skills.
Graduate Student A student who holds a bachelor's or first-professional degree, or equivalent, and is taking courses at the post-baccalaureate level.
Graduating Senior Survey A questionnaire administered annually to seniors approximately six months after graduation.The survey asks students to evaluate their satisfaction with instruction, programs, and services. Graduating seniors are also asked to report their educational and career-related plans.
Graduation Rate The percentage of students in a cohort who graduate within 150% of normal time. The cohort of first-time, full-time, baccalaureate students who enter the institution during the Fall Semester is tracked for six years.
Grants and Contract Awards Grants and contracts awarded to the university for instruction, research, and public service. Awards are made by federal and state government, as well as business and industry.
High Schools Types of high schools:
Public: An educational institution whose programs and activities are operated by publicly elected/appointed school officials and primarily supported by public funds
Private: An educational institution controlled by a private individual(s) supported primarily by private funds
Religious: An educational institution with a religious affiliation
Jesuit: An educational institution which identifies as Jesuit
Catholic, Non-Jesuit: An educational institution which identifies as Catholic denomination, but is not considered Jesuit
Other: Educational institutions listed as 'Other' in the PeopleSoft database
Hispanic of any race
A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.  See IPEDS Ethnicity Reporting Rules.
Honors Program Any special program for very able students offering the opportunity for educational enrichment,
independent study, acceleration, or some combination of these.
In-State Student A student who is a legal resident of the state in which he/she attends school. Also known as a resident student.
In-State Tuition The tuition charged by an institution to students who meet a state's residency requirements.
Independent Study Academic work chosen or designed by the student with the approval of the department concerned,
under an instructor's supervision, and usually undertaken outside of the regular classroom structure.
Instructional Faculty (Full-Time) Those members of the instruction/research staff who are employed full-time and whose major regular assignment is instruction, including those with released time for research.
Internship Any short-term, supervised work experience usually related to a student's major field, for which the student
earns academic credit. The work can be full- or part-time, on- or off-campus, paid or unpaid.
IPEDS The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics. IPEDS began in 1986 and involves annual data collections. All postsecondary institutions that have a Program Participation Agreement with the Office of Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education, are required to report data using a web-based data collection system. IPEDS also surveys approximately 3,000 other schools that offer postsecondary education programs.
Joint Program Two or more institutions sponsor an academic program leading toward a degree. The participating institutions administer and share academic responsibility for the joint program.
Land and Space The amount of acreage and assignable square footage in buildings.
Library An organized collection of printed, microform, and audiovisual materials which (a) is administered as one or more units, (b) is located in one or more designated places, and (c) makes printed, microform, and audiovisual materials as well as necessary equipment and services of staff accessible to students and to faculty. Includes units meeting the above definition which are part of a learning resource center.
Major Code A six-digit number assigned to an area of study designated as the student's major field.
Major Field of Study Students are classified as majors according to their selection of a primary field of study. This field must be selected from approved degree programs and university approved majors within each degree program.
Master's Degree An award that requires the successful completion of a program of study beyond the bachelor's degree; demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice.
National Merit Scholars Recipients of a prestigious national award given to approximately 2,000 high school students each year who exhibit academic excellence. Students qualify as National Merit finalists based on scores from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, supporting information submitted on their academic work, and a recommendation from their principals.
National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) A questionnaire administered to samples of first-year students and seniors that assesses students' level of engagement in their academic careers. The NSSE measures five key clusters of activities that research has shown to be tied to desired collegiate outcomes: level of academic challenge, student-faculty interactions, active and collaborative learning, enriching educational experiences, and a supportive campus environment.
NCES The National Center for Education Statistics, which is the statistical branch of the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, a principal operating component of the U.S. Department of Education.
New Hires Persons who were hired for full-time permanent employment for the 1st time, or after a break in service, between July 1 and September 30 of the survey year. These do not include persons who have returned from sabbatical leave.
Noncredit Course A course of activity having no credit applicable toward a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award.
Non-Degree Seeking Student A student enrolled in courses for credit who is not recognized by the institution as seeking a degree of formal award.
Nonresident Alien A person who is not a citizen or national of the United States and who is in this country on a visa or temporary basis and does not have the right to remain indefinitely. May also be referred to as Non-US Citizens. See IPEDS Ethnicity Reporting Rules.
Normal Time to Completion The amount of time necessary for students to complete all requirements for a degree or certificate according to the institution's catalog. This is typically 4 years (12 quarters, excluding summer term) for a bachelor's degree in a standard term-based institution.
Other E & G Expenditures and Transfers These are current funds expenditures not included elsewhere. Examples are expenditures for libraries, administration, academic computing, career guidance, admissions, registrar activities, executive planning, legal and fiscal operations, and public relations.
Other Expenses The amount of money (estimated by the financial aid office) needed by a student to cover expenses such as laundry, transportation, entertainment, and furnishings.
Out-of-State Student A student who is not a legal resident of the state in which he or she is attending college. Also known as a Nonresident Student.
Out-of-State Tuition The tuition charged by institutions to those students who do not meet the institution's or state's residency requirements.
Part-Time Undergraduate Student A student enrolled for less than 11 quarter units each term.
Pell Grant Program (Higher Education Act of 1965, Title IV, Part A, Subpart 1, as amended.) Provides grant assistance to eligible undergraduate postsecondary students with demonstrated financial need to help meet educational expenses.
Perkins Loan Program (Formerly National Direct Student Loans) (Higher Education Act of 1965, Title IV, Part E, as amended, Public Laws 89-329, 92-318, et al; 20 USC 1087aa-1087hh.) Provides low interest loans to eligible postsecondary students (undergraduate, graduate, or professional students) with demonstrated financial need to help meet educational expenses.
Post Baccalaureate Certificate An award that requires completion of an organized program of study requiring 18 credit
hours beyond the bachelor's; designed for persons who have completed a baccalaureate degree but do not meet the
requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of master.
Post-Master's Certificate An award that requires completion of an organized program of study of 24 credit hours beyond the master's degree, but does not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of master.
Private Giving Gifts to the University from alumni, corporations, foundations, trusts, and associations.
Race / Ethnicity Category 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. A person may be counted in only
one group. See IPEDS Ethnicity Reporting Rules.
Race/Ethnicity Unknown Category used to classify students or employees whose race/ethnicity is not known and institutions are unable to place them in one of the specified racial/ethnic categories. See IPEDS Ethnicity Reporting Rules.
Required fees Fixed sum charged to students for items not covered by tuition and required of such a large proportion of all students that the student who does NOT pay the charge is an exception.
Research and Development Expenditures Funds expended to support the research mission of the University.
Residence A person's permanent address determined by such evidence as a driver's license or voter registration. For entering freshman, residence may be the legal residence of a parent or guardian.
Resident Alien (and Other Eligible Non-Citizens) A person who is not a citizen or national of the United States and 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 notation that conveys legal immigrant status such as Section 207 Refugee, Section 208 Asyled Conditional Entrant Parolee or Cuban-Haitian). See IPEDS Ethnicity Reporting Rules.
Retention Rate Percent of students entering each fall quarter as first-time, full-time, degree-seeking students who return as second-year students. Students are included in the retention cohort if they start their college careers at SCU or another institution during the summer and continue at SCU in the fall quarter. Students who have achieved sophomore standing as a result of dual credit or Advanced Placement (AP) credit are also included in the cohort.
Salaries Money paid to a person for work or service. This includes regular or periodic payment to a person for the regular or periodic performance of work or a service and payment to a person for more sporadic performance of a work or a service.
SAT® An examination administered by the Educational Testing Service and used to predict the facility with which an individual will progress in learning college-level academic subjects.
Specialized Accreditation Specialized accreditation normally applies to the evaluation of programs, departments, or schools which usually are parts of a total collegiate or other post secondary institution. The unit accredited may be as large as a college or school within a university or a small as a curriculum within a discipline. Most of the specialized accrediting agencies review units within a postsecondary institution which is accredited by one of the regional accrediting commissions. However, certain of the specialized accrediting or vocational or other postsecondary institutions are free-standing in their operations.
Standardized Admissions Test Tests prepared and administered by an agency independent of any postsecondary education institution, for purposes of making available to prospective students, information about the students' academic qualifications relative to a national sample. Examples are the SAT and ACT assessment tests.
State and Local Government Grants State and local monies awarded to the institution under state and local student aid programs, including the state portion of State Student Incentive Grants (SSIG).
Strategic Plan A report that articulates university-wide goals and provides a framework for the development of detailed action plans to achieve these goals.
Student A person who has actively entered into a relationship with an academic program of the University in an officially recognized capacity.
Student Headcount Enrollment The actual number of individual students enrolled at a specified time regardless of whether the students are attending full-time or part-time.
Student Right-to-Know Act Also known as the "Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act" (P.L. 101-542), which was passed by Congress November 9, 1990. Title I, Section 103, requires institutions eligible for Title IV funding to disclose completion or graduation rates of certificate- or degree-seeking, full-time students entering an institution to all students and prospective students. Further, section 104 requires each institution which participates in any Title IV program is attended by students receiving athletically-related student aid to annually submit a report to the Secretary. This report is to contain among other things graduation/completion rates of students receiving athletically-related student aid by race/ethnicity and gender and by sport, and the average completion or graduation rate for the four most recent years. These data are also required to be disclosed to potential student athletes (and others) when the institution offers athletically-related student aid.
Student-to-Faculty Ratio An index of the average size (enrollment) of classes in relation to faculty resources.
Students of Color A Santa Clara University category of students whose race/ethnicity includes American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic of any race, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, or Two or more races.
Study Abroad Any arrangement by which a student completes part of the college program studying in another country. Can
be at a campus abroad or through a cooperative agreement with some other U.S. college or an institution of another country.
Summer Session An academic term occurring during the Summer months (June through September) where multiple courses and sessions are offered.The Summer quarter consists of multiple Summer sessions.
Survey Year As opposed to Cohort Year. The year the survey was administered in. 
Teacher Certification Program designed to prepare students to meet the requirements for certification as teachers in elementary , middle/junior high, and secondary schools.
Tenure Status of a personnel position, or a person occupying a position or occupation, with respect to permanence of the position.
Tenure Track Status of personnel positions that lead to consideration for tenure.
Total Degrees Awarded The total number of bachelor's degrees awarded by an institution during the academic year. 
Transfer Credit The total quarter credit hours recorded on the student's academic record as accepted by the institution as transfer credit from all previously attended institutions.
Transfer-In Student A student entering the reporting institution for the first time but known to have previously attended a postsecondary institution at the same level (e.g. undergraduate, graduate).
Tuition Amount of money charged to students for instructional services. Tuition may be charged per term, per course, or per credit.
Two or more races
Category used to classify individuals who self identified with more than one ethnic category.  Non-Hispanic.  See IPEDS Ethnicity Reporting Rules
Undergraduate A student enrolled in a four or five year bachelor's degree program.
Underrepresented Minorities A Santa Clara University category of students whose race/ethnicity includes American Indian or Alaska Native, Black or African American, Hispanic of any race, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, or Two or more races.
Unit a standard of measurement representing hours of academic instruction (e.g., semester credit, quarter credit, contact
Valedictorian A prestigious award given to one of the top-ranked students in the high school graduating class.
Wait List List of students who meet the admission requirements but will only be offered a place in the class if space
becomes available.
White A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East. Non-Hispanic. See IPEDS Reporting Rules.

Office of Institutional Research
Contact Institutional Research
500 El Camino Real Santa Clara, CA 95053
(408) 554-4160