Analytics and Institutional Research

Data Definitions and Glossary

Below is a collection of terms that are commonly used within institutional data reports. The definitions have been compiled using sources such as IPEDS, Common Data Set, and Minnesota State Reporting Standards along with definitions unique to St. Cloud State. Terms and definitions will continuously be added to this glossary. 


Academic Collegiate Excellence (ACE) program

Formerly Division of General Studies (DGS). The ACE program is designed for new entering first year students who do not meet the University admission criteria. Students in the program receive additional academic support and are typically required to complete two college transition courses (COLL 110 & COLL 150) during their first year.

Academic Year

The period of time generally extending from September to June; usually equated to 2 semesters (IPEDS). At St. Cloud State, the academic year includes the fall, spring, and summer terms. For example, academic year 2013-14 includes fall 2013, spring 2014, and summer 2014. This is different than fiscal year which includes summer, fall, and spring. Note the difference when compared to Fiscal Year.

Acceptance Rate

The ratio of the number of students who were offered admission to the university (numerator) to the number of students who applied to the university (denominator). Incomplete applications are not included in the denominator.


Institutions are accredited by organizations (or bodies) that establish operating standards for educational or professional institutions and programs, determine the extent to which the standards are met, and publicly announce their findings.

St. Cloud State is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Learn more about program accreditation.


Previously known as the American College Testing program, measures educational development and readiness to pursue college-level coursework in English, mathematics, natural science, and social studies. Student performance does not reflect innate ability and is influenced by a student's educational preparedness. (IPEDS)

Admission Status

Upon being admitted to the University, students are assigned an admission status. Below are the admission statuses that can be assigned to a student:

  • Undergraduate Regular: New first-time degree seeking student in credit courses at the undergraduate level. This is the most common status, which is assigned to students who are entering the fall semester after high school graduation.
  • Undergraduate Transfer: New degree-seeking student in credit courses at the undergraduate level who has previously attended another postsecondary institution (after high school and other than the one at which they are enrolled) at the undergraduate level regardless of whether or not transfer credits are accepted.
  • Undergraduate with Previous Degree: Degree seeking student in credit courses at the undergraduate level with a previous bachelor's degree.
  • PSEO High School Student: High School Student in credit courses enrolled at the undergraduate level under the provisions of the Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) Program. This includes Senior to Sophomore students.
  • Non-PSEO High School Student: High School Student in credit courses enrolled at the undergraduate level but not under the provisions of the Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) Program.
  • Undergraduate Unclassified: Non-degree seeking student in credit courses at the undergraduate level.
  • Undergraduate Unclassified with Bachelor's Degree from this institution: Non-degree seeking student in credit courses at the undergraduate level who has earned a bachelor's degree from this institution.
  • Graduate Certificate/Licensure: Certificate/Licensure-seeking student in credit courses at the graduate level who may be enrolled in a combination of graduate and undergraduate courses.
  • Graduate Regular: First-Time degree-seeking student in credit courses at the graduate level.
  • Graduate Unclassified: Non-degree-seeking student in credit courses at the graduate level.
  • Graduate Unclassified with Award from this institution: Non-degree-seeking student in credit courses at the graduate level who has earned a degree from this institution.
  • Post Masters Regular: Degree-seeking student in credit courses at the post masters level.
  • Post Masters Unclassified: Non-degree-seeking student in credit courses at the post masters level.
  • Specialist: Degree-seeking student in credit courses at the graduate specialist level.
  • Doctoral: Degree seeking student in credit courses at a doctoral level.

Admitted Student

Applicant who has met all application requirements and is offered admission. This can relate to both admission to the University and admission to a major/program. At St. Cloud State, undergraduate students must apply to both the University and to their major/program of study. For graduate students, the application to the University and major/program are the same.

Adult Learner

Also known as a non-traditional student. Students are considered adult learners if they meet one of the following criteria:

  • Age 25 or older
  • A veteran
  • A refugee or person with immigrant status
  • A parent
  • Married

Advising & Registration Day (A & R Days)

Required for all new entering students (first year or transfer). A & R Days occur in the months before their beginning entry term organized by the Academic & Student Transitions.


Calculated as of September 1st in the fiscal year for which enrollment is being reported. For example, the age of a student enrolled in the spring semester 2014 would be their age calculated as of September 1, 2013. (Minnesota State)

Prior to Spring 2014, age is calculated based on the 30th day of classes for the given term.


An individual who has fulfilled the institution’s requirements to be considered for admission (including payment or waiving of the application fee, if any) and who has been notified of one of the following actions: admission, nonadmission, placement on waiting list, or application withdrawn (by applicant or institution). (CDS). Also see Complete Application and Incomplete Application.


A Minnesota State Board of Trustees defined degree, diploma or certificate. Within Minnesota State, award is used synonymously with degree. St. Cloud State awards include associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees, and undergraduate and graduate certificates. For more information on awards/degrees offered by Minnesota State institutions, see System Procedure 3.36.1 Academic Programs and scroll to Part 3. Authorized Academic Awards.



Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) Code

A six-digit code in the form xx.xxxx that identifies instructional program specialties within educational institutions. A taxonomic coding scheme for secondary and postsecondary instructional programs. It is intended to facilitate the organization, collection, and reporting of program data using classifications that capture the majority of reportable data. The CIP is the accepted federal government statistical standard on instructional program classifications and is used in a variety of education information surveys and databases (IPEDS). See IPEDS for more information.


A specific group of students established for tracking purposes (IPEDS). At St. Cloud State, the new entering cohorts that are typically tracked are:

Cohort Term

The initial term in which a student within a cohort is admitted for and enrolls in credits (>0). Students who are admitted to and enroll in the summer semester and also enroll in the following fall semester are included in the fall cohort term.


Colleges serve as an organizational superstructure that can contain schools, departments and programs. Academic programs can be housed in schools, departments or free-standing at the college-level. Colleges are lead by an academic Dean. St. Cloud State has two colleges: College of Liberal Arts and College of Science & Engineering.

College Prep Standards

Courses in academic subjects (English, history and social studies, foreign languages, mathematics, science, and the arts) that stress preparation for college or university study. (CDS)

Common Data Set Initiative (CDS)

The Common Data Set (CDS) initiative is a collaborative effort among data providers in the higher education community and publishers as represented by the College Board, Peterson's, and U.S. News & World Report. The combined goal of this collaboration is to improve the quality and accuracy of information provided to all involved in a student's transition into higher education, as well as to reduce the reporting burden on data providers (CDS)

Complete Application

An application for admission is considered complete when all required items to be considered for admission (based on application type) are submitted and considered adequate enough to evaluate and determine an admissions decision (accept, deny, etc)


Some academic majors include different concentrations within that major. For example, the Statistics major includes three concentrations: actuarial science, applied statistics, and mathematical statistics. The terms emphasis and track are typically used synonymously with concentration.

Course Level

Courses can be defined by different levels. The highest levels defined are undergraduate, graduate, and non-credit courses. Within undergraduate, levels include developmental, lower division (100 and 200 courses), and upper division (300 and 400 courses). Within graduate, levels include graduate (500 and 600 courses) and doctoral (700 and 800 courses).

Course Subject

A subject is a particular area of study that St. Cloud State offers courses in, eg, Accounting, Computer Science, Geography, or Mathematics. Click here for a list of subjects at St. Cloud State.


Recognition of attendance or performance in an instructional activity (course or program) that can be applied by a recipient toward the requirements for a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award (CDS).

Credit Hour

A unit of measure representing an hour (50 minutes) of instruction over a 15-week period in a semester or trimester system or a 10-week period in a quarter system. It is applied toward the total number of hours needed for completing the requirements of a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award (CDS).


Declared Major

Students are considered to be in a declared major when they have met all requirements (typically GPA and credits) and formally been accepted to a major or program of study.


An award conferred by a college, university, or other postsecondary education institution as official recognition for the successful completion of a program of studies (CDS). Also see Award.

Degree-Seeking Status

Students enrolled in courses for credit who are recognized by the institution as seeking a degree or formal award are considered degree-seeking students. All other students, including PSEO and special students, are considered non-degree-seeking students.

Delivery Method or Media Code

Courses that are not taught using a traditional in-classroom approach are assigned a media code, also considered delivery method. The media code is utilized to distinguish which courses are taught online. The media codes that are considered to be online delivery include Predominantly Online (03), Completely Online-Asynchronous (12), and Completely Online-Synchronous Meetings (13). Other common media codes, although not considered online delivery, are Blended/Hybrid (09) and Satellite (01).


Association of faculty and staff who instruct on like courses, grouped within a school and/or college. Learn more about academic departments.

Domestic Student

A domestic student is anyone not considered an international student. Domestic students include resident aliens and refugees/asylees.


Enrolled Student

A student that is enrolled in one or more credits. Students enrolled in only zero credit courses, such as the Intensive English Center courses, are not considered enrolled students.

Enrollment status

The designation of full-time or part-time. See full-time student and part-time student for further clarification.


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, resident aliens, and other eligible non-citizens (IPEDS).

Individuals are first asked to designate ethnicity as: (1) Hispanic or Latino OR (2) Not Hispanic or Latino

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

American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, or White.


First Generation Student (MN and Federal)

Minnesota definition: a student neither of whose parents received any postsecondary education.

Federal (TRIO) definition: a student both of whose parents did not complete a baccalaureate degree.

At St. Cloud State, the MN definition is used unless otherwise noted.

Fiscal Year

Begins July 1st and ends June 30th. In terms of semesters, the fiscal year includes the summer, fall, and spring semesters. For example, fiscal year 2014 includes summer 2013, fall 2013, and spring 2014. Note the difference when compared to Academic Year.

Full Year Equivalent (FYE)

Full Year Equivalent (FYE) uses registered credit hours from courses owned by the institution multiplied by FTE_PCT reported by level (Minnesota State).

FYE for undergraduate courses is calculated with the sum of undergraduate credits divided by 30.

FYE for graduate courses is calculated with the sum of graduate credits divided by 20.

Full-time Equivalent (FTE) Students

Full Time Equivalent (FTE) uses registered credit hours from courses owned by the institution (FTE_PCT >0) reported by level (Minnesota State).

FTE for undergraduate courses is calculated with the sum of undergraduate credits divided by 15.

FTE for graduate courses is calculated with the sum of graduate credits divided by 10.

Full-time student

For undergraduate – student enrolled in 12 or more semester credits.

For graduate – a student enrolled in 9 or more semester credits.



A person who is awarded a Board of Trustees defined degree, diploma or certificate (Minnesota State)

Graduation Rate

Percentage of students being awarded a degree or award in a given time frame (4 year, 5 year, 6 year, etc) out of the cohort term. This rate is calculated as the total number of completers within 150% of normal time divided by the revised adjusted cohort (IPEDS)


Headcount Enrollment

Students enrolled in one or more credit courses are counted in headcount enrollment. Each student counts as one headcount regardless of credit load.

High School Class Percentage

The relative numerical position of a student in his or her high school graduating class, calculated by the high school on the basis of grade-point average, whether weighted or un-weighted (CDS/online)

Huskies in the High School

The Huskies in the High School is St. Cloud State’s concurrent enrollment program. Huskies in the HS is a partnership with participating high schools and the university which allows eligible high school students to enroll in introductory college-level courses in their high schools.

Huskies in the HS students are considered St. Cloud State students since they are enrolled for credit and will be counted in enrollment reports.


Incomplete Application

Student has submitted an application for admission but has not completed all application requirements to be considered for admission.

Instructional Faculty

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 (IPEDS)

Instructional FTE

The sum of staff FTE that falls under an instructional assignment. Instructional assignments include:

  • Instruction
  • Cont Ed Instruction
  • Part Time Instruction
  • Overload
  • Summer Instruction
  • Correspondence Course
  • Interactive TV Course
  • Graduate Course Overload
  • Internship Supervision
  • Independent Studies
  • Overload CC
  • Continuing Education, Non-credit
  • Applied Music
  • Exceeded Class Size Maximum
  • Prior Assessment of Learning
  • Paid Leave, Sabbatical/UTCE Educ
  • Paid Leave, Educational
  • CC HS Mentor
  • Cont Ed Instruction/Cust Training
  • PT Instruction/Cust Training
  • Customized Training - NonCredit
  • Customized Training - Credit
  • TC Summer Instruction
  • TC Curriculum Development
  • TC Faculty Development

Instructional Type

Each course at St. Cloud State has an assigned instructional type which describes the type of instructional setting for each course. The most common instructional types are Lecture, Lab, and Distance Learning. A common use for instructional type is to select all internship courses. Below is a list of all instructional types:

  • Activity
  • Alternate Plan Paper
  • Continuing Education Units
  • Contract - Customized Training
  • Distance Learning
  • External Studies/Self-Paced
  • Field Work
  • Independent Study
  • In-Service Class
  • Internship
  • Lab
  • Lecture/Lab
  • Lecture
  • Practicum
  • Private Lessons
  • Reading & Research
  • Seminar
  • Special Problems
  • Student Teaching
  • Studio Lab
  • Thesis
  • Workshop

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

It is a system of interrelated surveys conducted annually by the U.S. Department’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). IPEDS gathers information from every college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs. The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, requires that institutions that participate in federal student aid programs report data on enrollments, program completions, graduation rates, faculty and staff, finances, institutional prices, and student financial aid (IPEDS).

Intended Major

Students are assigned an intended major typically at the time of admission to the University. New students are assigned an advisor based on their intended major. Students in an intended major have not yet applied for formal admission to a major/program of study.

International Student or Nonresident Alien (NRA)

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 (IPEDS). This is reported regardless of racial-ethnic status.




Low Income Student

Students are considered low income if they qualify for the federal Pell Grant program. See Pell Grant.



A combination of courses and related activities organized for the attainment of broad educational objectives as described by the institution. Major is used interchangeably with Program.

Media Code

See Delivery Method

Minnesota State

St. Cloud State is a member of Minnesota State. The Minnesota State system comprises 31 colleges and universities, including 24 two-year colleges and seven state universities.

Minnesota Resident Status

Students who meet one or more of the following conditions on the date they apply for admission to a state college or university shall be classified as residents of Minnesota.

  • Students who resided in the state for at least one calendar year immediately prior to applying for admission, or dependent students who have a parent or legal guardian residing in Minnesota on the date the students apply. Residency in the state during this period must not have been solely or primarily for the purpose of attending a college or university.
  • Minnesota residents who can demonstrate that they were temporarily absent from the state without establishing residency elsewhere.
  • Persons who moved to the state for employment purposes and, before moving and before applying for admission to a public postsecondary institution, accepted a full-time job in the state, or students who are spouses or dependents of such persons.

Learn more about Minnesota state residency in the Minnesota State Board of Trustees policy.

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) (see Organizational Chart) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations. NCES is located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. (IPEDS)


New Entering First Year Student (NEF)

A student who has no prior postsecondary experience attending any institution for the first time at the undergraduate level. It also includes students enrolled in the fall term who attended college for the first time in the prior summer term, and students who entered with college credits earned before graduation from high school. (IPEDS)

New Entering Transfer Student (NET)

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). For Minnesota State, defined as a student obtaining and transferring in 24 or more college credits obtained at a postsecondary institution (change Fall 2013 – prior was defined as 12 credits).

Nonresident Alien (NRA)

See International Student

Non-traditional Student

See Adult Learner



Part-time Student

Undergraduate: A student enrolled for fewer than 12 credits per semester (IPEDS).

Graduate: A student enrolled for fewer than 9 credits per semester (IPEDS).

Peer Institutions

Grouping of like institutions identified by IPEDs and Education Trust and ranked based on data characteristics. See peer institutions for more information.

Pell Grant

Provides grant assistance to eligible undergraduate postsecondary students with demonstrated financial need to help meet education expenses. (Higher Education Act of 1965, Title IV, Part A, Subpart I, as amended.)

Pell grant eligibilty is used as a proxy for low income status.

Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) Program

 The Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Program is the program established by Minnesota State Statutes 124D.09 to "promote rigorous educational pursuits and provide a wider variety of options for students." Through PSEO, high school students may earn both secondary and postsecondary credit for college or university courses completed on a college or university campus, at a high school, or at another location.

St. Cloud State offers high school students the ability to earn credit for college courses both on campus and in high schools. High school students who are enrolled in courses on the St. Cloud State campus are labeled PSEO students and students who are enrolled in courses in their high school are considered Senior to Sophomore students, although both cases fall under the PSEO program.

PSEO students are considered St. Cloud State students and are counted in all enrollment reports.


A combination of courses and related activities organized for the attainment of broad educational objectives as described by the institution. Program is used interchangeably with Major.

Program Completion

Student has completed all the requirements for a program or major of study which typically leads to an award conferred.




see Ethnicity.

Record Type or Census Date

Institutions within Minnesota State use three record types:

  • Tenth Day (T): the tenth day of classes. Non-instructional days, such as weekends and holidays are not counted.
  • Thirtieth Day (R): the thirtieth day of classes. Non-instructional days, such as weekends and holidays are not counted.
  • End of Term (F): forty-five calendar days after the term. All days are counted including weekends and holidays.

Residence Hall Student or Living On Campus

Any student living in one of the campus residence halls as of the 30th day of classes for a given term is considered a residence hall student. All other students are considered off commuter students.

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. (IPEDS)



Previously known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, this is an examination administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and used to predict the facility with which an individual will progress in learning college-level academic subjects. (IPEDS)



Schools are more narrowly focused academic structures, compared to colleges, that bring together closely aligned disciplines around a particular thematic focus. Schools occur as organizational units within colleges or as a free-standing organizational unit. St. Cloud State has five schools:

  • School of the Arts (within College of Liberal Arts)
  • Herberger Business School
  • School of Public Affairs
  • School of Computing, Engineering & Environment (within College of Science & Engineering)
  • College of Education and Learning Design
  • School of Health & Human Services

Student Class

Undergraduate students have a designated class based on degree-seeking status and the number of credits earned.

  • Freshman: Less than 30 credits
  • Sophomore: At least 30 credits but less than 60 credits
  • Junior: At least 60 credits but less than 90 credits
  • Senior: At least 90 credits
  • Previous Degree: Previously earned a baccalaureate degree
  • Special: Any non-degree seeking student

Student of Color (SOC)

Defined based on IPEDS race/ethnicity definition. Students of Color include the following categories: Black or African American, Asian, Hispanic of any race, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, or Two or more races.

Student to Faculty Ratio

The ratio of FTE students to FTE instructional staff. Each FTE value is equal to the number of full-time students/staff plus 1/3 the number of part-time students/staff (IPEDS).



Underrepresented Student

A student is classified as “Underrepresented” if any one of the following criteria are true:

University Honors Program (Honors)

An honors program is designed for very able students offering the opportunity for educational enrichment, independent study, acceleration, or some combination of these (CDS).

At St. Cloud State, UHP is a selective program designated for approximately 150 new entering first-year student each fall term.





Yield Rate

Calculated by taking the number of new entering admitted students (first-year or transfer) who enroll in classes during the term in which they were admitted and dividing by the total number of admitted students (first-year or transfer) for that term.


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