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NCES National Center for Education Statistics
Outcome Measures
Click one of the following questions to view the answer.
General
1) Who is the best institutional representative to complete the Outcome Measures (OM) survey?
2) Will race/ethnicity and gender be required in future years?
3) Is the Outcome Measures survey component similar to the Student Achievement Measure (SAM) project?
OM Terminology Clarified
4) What is a “still enrolled” degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate student?
5) What is a “non-first-time” degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate student?
6) Are the Outcome Measures 4-years, 6-years and 8-years status points the same as Graduation Rates’ 150% and 200% of normal time?
Cohorts
7) Does OM have two different cohort years for 4-year and 2-year institutions in the same fashion as Graduation Rates cohort years?
8) Should students who enter in the spring term (semester system) or winter and spring terms (quarter system) be included in the full-year cohort?
9) If we are reporting on a full-year cohort that enters between July 1 and June 30 (OM coverage cohort year), what happens if a student switches their attendance levels (e.g., full-time or part-time) during the OM coverage cohort year?
10) As an academic year reporting institution, I have a group of degree-seeking undergraduate students who took a summer session designed for entering students to earn college credit before enrolling in the next immediate full term (i.e., Fall semester or quarter). However, the start date of the summer session was prior to Outcome Measures coverage cohort year start date of July 1, which cohort year should these students be reported?
11) If the entering students were part-time students during a summer session, how should these students be included in OM?
12) I have a student that attended class for a day or a short portion of the term, should this student be included in the OM cohorts?
13) A student qualified as an exclusion during the 8 year time period, but received an award prior to the student’s qualification, do I exclude this student from the cohort?
Degree-granting Status
14) If an institution was not a degree-granting institution in 2009-10, but later became a degree-granting institution, will that institution be required to complete the Outcome Measures survey component?
Degree-seeking and Non-degree-seeking Students
15) Should students be included in Outcome Measures cohorts if degree/certificate-seeking intent is not explicitly stated?
16) If I am an academic year reporter, how do I report students who enter my institution as non-degree/certificate-seeking students in the fall, but in the following spring term enroll as degree/certificate-seeking students? 
17) If I am a program or hybrid reporter, how do I report students who begin at my institution as non-degree/certificate-seeking students, but the following year they become degree/certificate-seeking?
18) How do I report students who were non-degree-seeking at another institution and subsequently enrolled at my institution as degree/certificate-seeking students?
Award Related Questions
19) What does “award” mean?
20) How would a student who transfers from a 4-year institution to a 2-year institution and then completes a lower-level degree/certificate be counted? 
21) If a student earns multiple awards at my institution, do I count the higher award?
22) If a student transfers-in with an award from another institution, and then earns an award at my institution, which award do I count?
23) How do I count students seeking a second baccalaureate degree?
24) How should I report a student who left my institution and is known to have received an award at a subsequent institution?
25) Does transfer-prep count as an award?
26) Can stackable credentials count as an award?
27) Can institutions report graduate levels awards in OM?
28) Which award is higher between a certificate that is more than 2 years, but less than 4 years or an Associate’s degree?
Counting Transfer-in and Transfer-out Students
29) How should I count transfer-in students?
30) Won’t there be double counting of a student if two institutions are counting the same student who earned an award?  
31) Are first-time or non-first-time students who transfer-out to another institution included in the non-first-time entering cohort of the transfer-in institution?
32) How do I report a degree-seeking student who starts out at my institution, transfers to another institution, but then returns to my institution within the 8-year timeframe?
33) Are institutions required to report transfer-out undergraduate students?
Students Without a High School Diploma or Equivalent
34) How do I count students in a dual enrollment program? What about students who received early admissions to my institution?
35) How do I count adult learners who do not have a high school diploma or equivalent, but are certificate-seeking students taking credit-bearing undergraduate courses?
Tracking Subsequent Enrollment
36) Are institutions required to subscribe to the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) in order to obtain data needed to report the number of students that subsequently enrolled at another institution? 
37) Can social media be used to confirm the enrollment at subsequent institutions?
38) What other resources are available to help me report on subsequent enrollment?
Subcohorts: Pell-Grant and Non-Pell Grant Recipients
39) Who is considered a “recipient” of a Pell Grant?
40) How are Pell Grant recipients reported in OM subcohorts?
41) What is a Non-Pell Grant recipient? What if I have students that did not get a Pell Grant, but received other forms of student aid?
42) Should my institution, which is participating as an experimental site, report high school students who have received a Pell Grant while taking college coursework?
43) For transfer-in students, do I need to track their Pell Grant awards prior to entering my institution (i.e., the Pell Grant was awarded by another institution)?
Answers:
General
1) Who is the best institutional representative to complete the Outcome Measures (OM) survey?
  The individual who completes the Graduation Rates (GR), Graduation Rates 200 (GR200), Completions (C), and Student Financial Aid (SFA) survey components may be the best person to complete the Outcome Measures survey. This individual will most likely have to work closely with the registrar, enrollment managers, and student financial aid administrators.
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2) Will race/ethnicity and gender be required in future years?
  There are currently no plans to collect race/ethnicity and gender for Outcome Measures because of the institutional burden and the federal need to obtain the data as soon as possible.
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3) Is the Outcome Measures survey component similar to the Student Achievement Measure (SAM) project?
  OM is similar to SAM in that both have the same goal of measuring postsecondary success and progression of undergraduate students. However, the methodologies used to measure the outcomes are different. First, OM is part of the mandatory IPEDS collection compared to SAM’s voluntary participation. Second, OM has 4 cohorts with 8 subcohorts and SAM has up to 7 cohorts. Lastly, the time points for SAM varies depending on the cohorts compared to OM’s use of a standard 4-year, 6-year and 8-year time points for all cohorts. For more information on SAM, see http://www.studentachievementmeasure.org/resources.
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OM Terminology Clarified
4) What is a “still enrolled” degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate student?
  For academic year reporters, a degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate student who is actively enrolled for credit at the institution during the most recent term (spring or summer) is considered still enrolled. For program and hybrid reporters, a still enrolled degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate is an undergraduate student who was enrolled for credit during the previous year.
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5) What is a “non-first-time” degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate student?
  A non-first-time degree/certificate undergraduate student is new to your institution, but has prior postsecondary experience. This term will most likely refer to students who transferred-in during the entry year of the cohort. Transfer-in students may enter with or without credit.
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6) Are the Outcome Measures 4-years, 6-years and 8-years status points the same as Graduation Rates’ 150% and 200% of normal time?
  No, these are not the same. Graduation rates of 100%, 150%, and 200% of normal time are accumulated progress of time-to-degree. The 4-years, 6-years, and 8-years up-to-the-specified date snapshots used in OM provide the status of awards and enrollment at 4-, 6-, and 8-years after a cohort enters the institution. More specifically, OM counts the highest award conferred regardless of the length of time it took the student to complete the program relative to the “normal” time to complete. OM requires institutions to report the award/enrollment status for the student cohorts, and there are no specific reporting requirements as to how quickly an award must be earned. Do not equate or use Graduation Rates’ “normal time to degree” as the same period of time for Outcome Measures’ 4-, 6-, and 8-years status points.
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Cohorts
7) Does OM have two different cohort years for 4-year and 2-year institutions in the same fashion as Graduation Rates cohort years?
  No. OM has only one cohort year for both 2-year and 4-year institutions. Furthermore, the OM survey forms for 2-year and 4-year institutions are the same. For the 2017-18 collection year, all degree-granting institutions, regardless of institution level, will report on undergraduate students who entered their institutions during the full year of July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010. All institutions will report on a full-year cohort.
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8) Should students who enter in the spring term (semester system) or winter and spring terms (quarter system) be included in the full-year cohort?
  Yes, these students must be included in a full-year cohort reporting if they entered anytime between the July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010 cohort year.
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9) If we are reporting on a full-year cohort that enters between July 1 and June 30 (OM coverage cohort year), what happens if a student switches their attendance levels (e.g., full-time or part-time) during the OM coverage cohort year?
  The attendance level is determined upon entering the institution. The student remains in the cohort even if there is a change in attendance levels in subsequent terms or years.
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10) As an academic year reporting institution, I have a group of degree-seeking undergraduate students who took a summer session designed for entering students to earn college credit before enrolling in the next immediate full term (i.e., Fall semester or quarter). However, the start date of the summer session was prior to Outcome Measures coverage cohort year start date of July 1, which cohort year should these students be reported?
  For the 2017-18 collection year, these summer session students would be included in the 2009-10 OM cohort year because it is the first full term (i.e., Fall semester or quarter), which should be used to determine their inclusion.
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11) If the entering students were part-time students during a summer session, how should these students be included in OM?
  To determine the attendance level (i.e., full-time or part-time) for these students, identify the next immediate full term (i.e., Fall semester or quarter) that these students enrolled in during the July 1 to June 30 period. For example, if a part-time summer-session student enrolled in the immediate fall as a full-time student, that student would enter in one of the full-time student OM cohorts (i.e., first-time or non-first-time). If a student skipped the Fall term, but enrolled as full-time in the following winter quarter or spring terms as full-time, that student would also enter in OM as full-time.

Do not change a student’s OM cohort designation should the student’s attendance level change after the immediate full term during the OM coverage period.

If a student does not enroll in any full terms during the OM coverage period, the student is still counted in the 2009-10 OM cohort year and should be entered in one of the part-time OM cohorts (i.e., first-time or non-first-time).

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12) I have a student that attended class for a day or a short portion of the term, should this student be included in the OM cohorts?
  At entry of the first full term (i.e., Fall semester or quarter), report these students if they have met your institution’s official Census Date for being counted in enrollment, otherwise they should be excluded.
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13) A student qualified as an exclusion during the 8 year time period, but received an award prior to the student’s qualification, do I exclude this student from the cohort?
  Per the OM instructions on exclusions, institutions may choose to exclude students if they meet one of the allowable reasons: student is deceased or permanently and totally disabled, student left to serve in the armed forces or was called to active duty, student left to serve in a foreign aid service, or student left to serve on an official church mission. NCES recommends that institutions do NOT exclude students who had already earned an award because such information could better inform the public of an institution’s completion rate. However, an institution may choose to exclude such a student.
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Degree-granting Status
14) If an institution was not a degree-granting institution in 2009-10, but later became a degree-granting institution, will that institution be required to complete the Outcome Measures survey component?
  Yes. All degree-granting institutions are required to complete the OM survey component, including those that were non-degree-granting in 2009-10.
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Degree-seeking and Non-degree-seeking Students
15) Should students be included in Outcome Measures cohorts if degree/certificate-seeking intent is not explicitly stated?
  The institution should try to determine, to the greatest extent possible, whether the student is degree/certificate-seeking. For example, students must be degree/certificate-seeking to receive federal student aid. Students who are eligible for federal student aid but decide not to receive aid are still considered degree/certificate-seeking and should be included in the appropriate Outcome Measures cohort. Students who are not eligible for federal student aid and who have not clearly stated their degree/certificate-seeking intent should be excluded from OM.
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16) If I am an academic year reporter, how do I report students who enter my institution as non-degree/certificate-seeking students in the fall, but in the following spring term enroll as degree/certificate-seeking students? 
  Include these students in your OM cohort because these students became degree/certificate-seeking at some point during the full-year cohort of July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010.
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17) If I am a program or hybrid reporter, how do I report students who begin at my institution as non-degree/certificate-seeking students, but the following year they become degree/certificate-seeking?
  For program or hybrid reporters, if during the OM coverage cohort year (July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010) these students become degree/certificate-seeking students, include these students in the OM cohorts. If the students become degree/certificate-seeking after June 30, 2010, they should not be included in the 2009-10 cohort. Instead, include these students in the next OM cohort year for the next IPEDS collection cycle.
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18) How do I report students who were non-degree-seeking at another institution and subsequently enrolled at my institution as degree/certificate-seeking students?
  Because these students entered your institution as degree/certificate-seeking, these students should be included in your institution’s OM reporting in one of the non-first-time cohorts.
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Award Related Questions
19) What does “award” mean?
  An award can be a degree (e.g., Associate's or Bachelor's), diploma, certificate or other formal award conferred by the reporting institution that would be included on the IPEDS Completions Survey. For OM reporting purposes, an award does not mean financial aid award.
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20) How would a student who transfers from a 4-year institution to a 2-year institution and then completes a lower-level degree/certificate be counted? 
  The 4-year institution would report this student from the appropriate OM subcohort as having left their institution without an award and subsequently enrolled at another institution. The 2-year institution would place this student in one of the non-first-time entering subcohorts and report the student’s highest award conferred by the institution over the three status points.
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21) If a student earns multiple awards at my institution, do I count the higher award?
  Yes, count the highest award received for each status point (4-yr, 6-yr, and 8-yr). Regardless of whether the student earns multiple awards at your institution, only one award is reported per student, per status point. For example, if a student earned a certificate and associate’s degree by the end of 4 years, the institution would report only the associate’s degree. If the same student continues enrollment at the institution and earns a bachelor’s degree by year 7, the institution would report the associate’s degree at the 6 year status point, but the bachelor’s degree at the 8 year status point. The certificate award is never reported to OM in this example because it was not the highest award earned at any status point.
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22) If a student transfers-in with an award from another institution, and then earns an award at my institution, which award do I count?
  Do not count awards conferred from another institution. Institutions should only report the awards conferred by their own institution.  
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23) How do I count students seeking a second baccalaureate degree?
 
The answer depends on whether the student is seeking the second baccalaureate at the same institution or a different institution. 

If the student is seeking a second baccalaureate at the same institution (Fall Enrollment counts these students as “continuing students”), do not reset the time period for this student or place him/her in a new cohort. OM wants to know when these students received their highest award (degree/certificate) at the same institution over a span of 8 years; therefore, the first baccalaureate would be reported, but not the second baccalaureate. Read another FAQ in "Award Related Questions" section regarding students earning multiple awards at the same institution.

If the student is seeking a second baccalaureate at a different institution from where the student received his/her first baccalaureate (Fall Enrollment counts these students as “transfer-in students”), then report these students as degree/certificate-seeking, non-first-time entering students (either full-time or part-time by Pell Grant status). These students have prior postsecondary experience, but are seeking a degree/certificate at the different institution.

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24) How should I report a student who left my institution and is known to have received an award at a subsequent institution?
  At the 8-year status point, report such students in the “did not receive an award from your institution, but enrolled at another institution after leaving your institution" column. If your institution did not confer the award, your institution cannot report the award.
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25) Does transfer-prep count as an award?
 
Yes. As is also the case with the Graduation Rates component, the OM component has a provision that allows institutions to count students who have successfully completed a transfer-preparatory program as having received an award. 

SPECIAL NOTE: In order to resolve a potential conflict between transfers-out and the mission of particular programs to prepare students for transfer to other institutions, institutions may count as completers those students who have successfully completed a transfer-preparatory program.

A transfer-preparatory program is defined in 34 CFR Student Assistance General Provisions, Section 668.8(b)(1)(ii), as “the successful completion of at least a 2-year program that is acceptable for full credit toward a bachelor’s degree and qualifies a student for admission into the third year of a bachelor’s degree program.” The Secretary considers transfer-prep the equivalent of an associate’s degree, thus completers of transfer-preparatory programs (although these students do not receive a “formal award”) should be counted as having received an associate's degree for purposes of OM.
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26) Can stackable credentials count as an award?
  Yes, stackable credentials can be counted, as long as the credentials meet the definition of an award. According to the Department of Labor, stackable credentials are “a sequence of credentials that can be accumulated over time to build up an individual’s qualifications and help them to move along a career pathway or up a career ladder to different and potentially higher-payer jobs” (Source: TEGL 15-10, www.doleta.gov). Educause (Jan 27, 2014) explains these credentials as an institution-designed “pathway for students to acquire credentials along a trajectory that can lead to a baccalaureate and beyond but that has exit and entry points designed in a way to allow students to pick up wherever they left off en route to the next level of achievement.”
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27) Can institutions report graduate levels awards in OM?
  No. Institutions shall not report graduate level awards, including post-baccalaureate certificates, in OM. However, institutions that enroll undergraduates in a graduate program that requires 2 or 3 years of undergraduate work at their institution before being accepted into the graduate program (e.g., a Pharm.D. program) can count the 2 or 3 years of undergraduate work, which is seen as operating similarly to a transfer-prep program, but is the equivalent to an undergraduate certificate award.
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28) Which award is higher between a certificate that is more than 2 years, but less than 4 years or an Associate’s degree?
  In this example, Associate’s degree is the higher award. The hierarchy of awards (from lowest to highest) is certificates, associate’s degree, and bachelor’s degree. For purposes of OM reporting, all certificates levels (i.e., less than 1 year; at least 1 year but less than 2 years; and at least 2 years, but less than 4 years) are aggregated together into the certificates reporting column.
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Counting Transfer-in and Transfer-out Students
29) How should I count transfer-in students?
  At your institution, transfer-in students should be counted as non-first-time entering students in either a full-time or part-time cohort. The progress of transfer-in students should be tracked at the 4-, 6-, and 8-years after entering your institution.
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30) Won’t there be double counting of a student if two institutions are counting the same student who earned an award?  
  Not necessarily. Institutions should report only awards conferred by their institution. Students who transfer into your institution and receive an award from your institution within the reporting period should be reported only by your institution. While there could be double counting, the institution sending the student to your institution would report the student only as a “student who enrolled at another institution after leaving your institution.” Thus, the same student should not appear in the same cohort and outcome category for both institutions.
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31) Are first-time or non-first-time students who transfer-out to another institution included in the non-first-time entering cohort of the transfer-in institution?
  Yes. If first-time or non-first-time students transfer into your institution and have never been previously enrolled in your institution, you should report them in the appropriate non-first-time entering subcohort.
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32) How do I report a degree-seeking student who starts out at my institution, transfers to another institution, but then returns to my institution within the 8-year timeframe?
  Students should be counted in their original cohort only. If the student subsequently enrolls in another institution and returns to your institution within the reporting 8-year timeframe, the student should remain in their original cohort and should be reported in one of the two categories: 1) did not receive an award and still enrolled at your institution or 2) received an award from your institution.
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33) Are institutions required to report transfer-out undergraduate students?
  Yes. Institutions are required to report transfer-out undergraduate students to the OM survey component, regardless if the institution has transfer-preparation as part of its mission. Unlike the Graduation Rates (GR) survey component, which is governed by the Student-Right-to-Know-Act, OM does not differentiate between institutions that do, or do not, have a transfer-preparation in their mission.
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Students Without a High School Diploma or Equivalent
34) How do I count students in a dual enrollment program? What about students who received early admissions to my institution?
  Students who do not have a high school diploma or equivalent, but are enrolled in a high school diploma or equivalent program while taking college-credit coursework, are considered “non-degree-seeking” students. After the students have earned their high school diploma or equivalent, and subsequently enroll at a postsecondary institution, they are then considered “first-time” students. This guidance is the same for early-admission students. Until the high school student has received a high school diploma or equivalent, the student is not considered degree-seeking and is not included in any of the OM cohorts. In other words, these students do not enter an Outcome Measures cohort until after earning their high school diploma or equivalent.
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35) How do I count adult learners who do not have a high school diploma or equivalent, but are certificate-seeking students taking credit-bearing undergraduate courses?
  Students, who are enrolled in college-credit coursework, but have not earned a high school diploma or its equivalent and do not plan on earning a high school diploma or its equivalent, should be included in OM if they are degree/certificate-seeking students.
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Tracking Subsequent Enrollment
36) Are institutions required to subscribe to the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) in order to obtain data needed to report the number of students that subsequently enrolled at another institution? 
  IPEDS neither requires nor endorses institutions to subscribe to the NSC or any other third-party organization to help with reporting. However, IPEDS realizes that fee-based services can facilitate an institution’s reporting of the Outcome Measures survey component.
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37) Can social media be used to confirm the enrollment at subsequent institutions?
  Yes, however IPEDS neither requires nor endorses the use of social media (e.g., LinkedIn), which may help with OM reporting of enrollment at subsequent institutions. IPEDS strongly encourages institutions to use additional methods, such as alumni surveys, to verify and confirm subsequent enrollment. 
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38) What other resources are available to help me report on subsequent enrollment?
  For institutions that report student unit-record data to a coordinated-system office (e.g., coordinating board, system office, state department of higher education, board of regents/trustees, etc.), those offices may be a resource to help identify subsequent enrollment at another institution within that coordinated system.
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Subcohorts: Pell-Grant and Non-Pell Grant Recipients
39) Who is considered a “recipient” of a Pell Grant?
  For the purposes of OM reporting, a Pell Grant recipient is a student who received a Pell which was also partially or fully disbursed upon entry (July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010).
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40) How are Pell Grant recipients reported in OM subcohorts?
  Noting that the OM cohort coverage period is July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010, if at any time during the OM 2009-10 cohort year a student received a disbursed Pell Grant, this student should be counted in a Pell Grant subcohort. Do not include students in the Pell Grant subcohort if the student did not receive a Pell Grant during the OM cohort year, but received a Pell Grant subsequent to the OM 2009-10 cohort year. If a Pell Grant recipient does not continue to receive disbursed Pell Grants after the OM cohort year, the student remains in the OM Pell Grant subcohort because the student had a Pell Grant disbursed during the OM cohort year.

If a student received a Pell Grant as well as additional forms of student aid (i.e., Stafford/Direct loans, state or institutional loans/grant aid, scholarships, third party loans etc.) during the OM cohort year, this student should still be included in OM’s Pell Grant recipient subcohort.

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41) What is a Non-Pell Grant recipient? What if I have students that did not get a Pell Grant, but received other forms of student aid?
  For purposes of OM reporting, Non-Pell Grant recipients are students that did not receive a disbursed Pell Grant during the OM  2009-10 cohort year. Also, students that did not receive a Pell Grant during the OM cohort year, but received other types of student aid (i.e., Stafford loans, state loans or grants, institutional grants, scholarships, or third-party loans) would be reported in one of the Non-Pell Grant recipient subcohorts.
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42) Should my institution, which is participating as an experimental site, report high school students who have received a Pell Grant while taking college coursework?
  If your institution is participating in the Pell Grant for high school students experimental site program, exclude these students from the OM reporting.
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43) For transfer-in students, do I need to track their Pell Grant awards prior to entering my institution (i.e., the Pell Grant was awarded by another institution)?
  No. Tracking of the Pell Grant awards prior to entry at your institution is not necessary for OM reporting purposes.
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