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NCES National Center for Education Statistics
Graduation Rates for less-than-2-year institutions reporting on a full-year cohort (program reporters)
Overview 
Graduation Rates Overview
 Welcome to the IPEDS Graduation Rates (GR) survey component. The GR component collects data on the cohort of full-time, first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students and tracks their completion status at 150% of the normal time to complete all requirements of their program of study. This information is collected to assist institutions in complying with the requirements of the Student Right-to-Know Act. 
 Data Reporting Reminders 
 Once a student is in the cohort, they remain in the cohort, even if their status changes to part-time or they drop out or transfer out of the institution. However, adjustments can be made to the cohort for allowable exclusions, which include the death of a student, permanent disability, military deployment, or service on an official church mission or with a foreign aid service of the Federal government. 
    When reporting award levels for sub-baccalaureate certificates, determine program length by the number of credit or contact hours, NOT the academic year length in parentheses. The academic year length is meant only to provide context. 
   
   
  Resources:
The survey materials package for this component can be downloaded using the following link: Survey Materials
 
 To access your prior year data submission for this component: Reported Data 

If you have questions about completing this survey, please contact the IPEDS Help Desk at 1-877-225-2568.
 
Graduation rates 
Based on your institution's response to the predominant calendar system question (B3) on the Institutional Characteristics Header survey component from the IPEDS Fall 2015 data collection, your institution must report graduation rates data using a:
 
Full-Year Cohort (September 1, 2012 - August 31, 2013)
 
A fall cohort is used by institutions with standard academic terms (semester, trimester, quarter, 4-1-4). A full-year cohort is used by institutions offering primarily occupational/vocational programs and operating on a continuous basis.
  • In the columns below, indicate the status of the 2012 cohort of full-time, first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students reported in Column 10.
  • The cumulative number of these students who completed their program within 150% of normal time as of August 31, 2015 should be reported in Column 11.
  • Report transfers-out who did not complete a program in Column 30. If the mission of your institution includes providing substantial preparation for students to enroll in another eligible institution WITHOUT having completed a program, you must report transfer-out data in Column 30. A school is required to report only on those students that the school knows have transferred to another eligible institution. A school must document that the student actually transferred. If it is not part of your mission, you may report transfer-out data if you wish.
  • Report eligible exclusions from the cohort in Column 45. The ONLY allowable categories for this column are:
    students who died or became permanently disabled
    students who left school to serve in the armed forces (or have been called up to active duty)
    students who left school to serve with a foreign aid service of the Federal Government
    students who left school to serve on an official church mission
  • Column 52 [No longer enrolled] will be calculated for you. This includes students who dropped out as well as those who completed in greater than 150% of normal time.
  • Column 55 [Completers within 100%] is a subset of Column 11 [Completers within 150%]. These data are being requested so they can be preloaded into next year's Graduation Rates 200% survey component.
  • Cohort of full-time, first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students
    Screen 1 of 1Cohort year 2012
     Initial cohortRevised cohortTotal exclusionsAdjusted cohort
    (Col 10 -
    Col 45)
    Completed within 150% of normal time to completion Total transfer-out students
    Still enrolledNo longer enrolled
    Of those in Column 11, those who completed within 100% of normal time to completion
      (Column 10)(Column 45)(Column 50)(Column 11)(Column 55)(Column 30)(Column 51)(Column 52)
     
    Total men + women            
    Total men + women prior year           
     
     
    Part A: Full-Time Undergraduates by Race/Ethincity and Gender
     
    Reporting Persons by Racial/Ethnic Category (1997 OMB)

    This information is being collected in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Sec. 421(a)(1) of the Carl D. Perkins Vocational Education Act. These instructions correspond with the Final Guidance on Maintaining, Collecting, and Reporting Racial and Ethnic Data to the U.S. Department of Education, published in the Federal Register on October 19, 2007.

    Method of collection - Institutions must collect race and ethnicity information using a 2-question format. The first question is whether the respondent is Hispanic/Latino. The second question is whether the respondent is from one or more races from the following list: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and White. Institutions should allow students and staff to self-identify their race and ethnicity. For further details on the guidance for collecting these data, please see the full Federal Register notice.

    Method of reporting aggregate data - Institutions must report aggregate data to the U.S. Department of Education using the NINE categories below. Racial/ethnic designations are requested only for United States citizens, resident aliens, and other eligible non-citizens.

    • Hispanic or Latino, regardless of race

    For Non-Hispanic/Latino individuals:

    • American Indian or Alaska Native
    • Asian
    • Black or African American
    • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
    • White
    • Two or more races

    In addition, the following categories may be used:

    • Nonresident alien
    • Race and ethnicity unknown

    Racial/ethnic descriptions - Racial/ethnic designations as used in this survey do not denote scientific definitions of anthropological origins. The categories are:

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

    Other descriptive categories

    • 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. NOTE - Nonresident aliens are to be reported separately, in the boxes provided, rather than included in any of the seven racial/ethnic categories. Resident aliens and other eligible (for financial aid purposes) non-citizens who are not citizens or nationals of the United States and who have been admitted as legal immigrants for the purpose of obtaining permanent resident alien status (and who hold 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) are to be reported in the appropriate racial/ethnic categories along with United States citizens.
    • Race and ethnicity unknown - This category is used only if the person did not select EITHER a racial or ethnic designation.

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    Part A: Full-Time Undergraduate Students by Race/Ethnicity and Gender

    On this screen, include all students enrolled for credit, full-time at the undergraduate level. The undergraduate level includes students enrolled in undergraduate level courses, in 4 or 5-year bachelor's degree programs, associate's degree programs, or any certificate programs below the baccalaureate level. Students who have already earned a bachelor's degree but are taking undergraduate courses for credit should be included as undergraduates.

    Full-time, first-time degree/certificate-seeking students

    In column 1, report undergraduate students who have no prior postsecondary experience and have enrolled full-time with the intent to earn a degree, certificate, or other formal award. The following are also considered first-time:

    • Students enrolled in the fall term who attended college for the first time in the prior summer session (applicable to academic reporters only)
    • Students who entered with advanced standing (any college credits earned before graduation from high school)

    In order to be considered degree or certificate-seeking, the student must be enrolled in courses for credit and be recognized by the institution as seeking a degree or other formal award. Note: All students eligible to receive federal student financial aid are to be considered degree/certificate-seeking. Dual enrolled high school students are not degree/certificate-seeking students. 

    Program Reporters: Include first-time students who entered your institution between August 1, 2015 and October 31, 2015.

    Academic Reporters: Student counts reported in column 1 define the initial cohort for reporting graduation rates in the IPEDS Graduation Rates (GR) component to meet Student Right-to-Know reporting requirements. Students reported in this group will become your GR cohort in the reporting year appropriate for your institution. The number of students reported in column 1 will also appear in Part D to be used in determining the percentage of the undergraduate entering class represented by the cohort.

    Full-time, transfer-in degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students

    In column 2, report the total number of full-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students entering the reporting institution for the first time but known to have previously attended a postsecondary institution at the undergraduate level. Include students enrolled in the fall term who transferred into the institution the prior summer term. These students may or may not have transferred credit(s).

    Program Reporters: Include students who transferred into your institution between August 1, 2015 and October 31, 2015

    Academic Reporters: Include students who transferred into your institution as of the institution's official fall reporting date or October 15, 2015 and those who transferred in the prior summer term.

    Full-time, continuing degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students

    In column 3, report the total number of continuing (i.e., not first-time and not transfer-in) full-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students. These are students who are not new to the institution in the fall, but instead are continuing their studies at the institution.

    Full-time, non-degree/certificate-seeking full-time undergraduates

    In column 5, report the total number of full-time non-degree/certificate-seeking undergraduates. These students are enrolled for credit but not with the intent of earning a degree or other formal award. Note: High school students enrolled in creditable courses prior to high school graduation are considered non-degree/certificate-seeking students.

    Once you save the data by clicking the 'Verify and Save' button, the 'Total full-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduates' (column 4) and 'Total, full-time undergraduate students' (column 6) will be calculated by the system and display on the survey screen.

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    Glossary date: 9/29/2016
    Term Definition
    Adjusted cohort The result of removing any allowable exclusions from a cohort (or subcohort). For the Fall Enrollment component, it is the cohort for calculating retention rate; for the Graduation Rates component, this is the cohort from which graduation and transfer-out rates are calculated; and for the Outcome Measures component, these are the four cohorts (full-time, first-time; part-time-first-time; full-time, non-first-time; and part-time, non-first-time) for which outcomes rates are calculated at 6 and 8 years.
    Cohort A specific group of students established for tracking purposes.
    Completers within 150% of normal time Students who completed their program within 150% of the normal (or expected) time for completion.
    Degree/certificate-seeking students Students enrolled in courses for credit who are seeking a degree, certificate, or other formal award. 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.
    Exclusions Those students who may be removed (deleted) from a cohort (or subcohort). For the Graduation Rates, Outcome Measures , and Fall Enrollment retention rate reporting, students may be removed from a cohort if they left the institution for one of the following reasons: death or total and permanent disability; service in the armed forces (including those called to active duty); service with a foreign aid service of the federal government, such as the Peace Corps; or service on official church missions.
    Fall cohort The group of students entering in the fall term established for tracking purposes. For the Graduation Rates component, this includes all students who enter an institution as full-time, first-time degree or certificate-seeking undergraduate students during the fall term of a given year. For the Outcome Measures component, all degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students who enter an institution during the fall term of a given year must be placed in one of four cohorts: full-time, first-time; part-time, first-time; full-time, non-first-time; and part-time, non-first-time.
    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 term, and students who entered with advanced standing (college credits earned before graduation from high school).
    Full-time student Undergraduate: A student enrolled for 12 or more semester credits, or 12 or more quarter credits, or 24 or more contact hours a week each term. Graduate: A student enrolled for 9 or more semester credits, or 9 or more quarter credits, or a student involved in thesis or dissertation preparation that is considered full-time by the institution. Doctor's degree - Professional practice - as defined by the institution.
    Full-year cohort The group of students entering at any time during the 12-month period September 1 through August 31 that is established for tracking and reporting Graduation Rate (GR) and Outcome Measures (OM) data for institutions that primarily offer occupational programs of varying lengths. Students must be full-time and first-time to be considered in the cohort. For OM component, undergraduate students must enter in one of four cohorts: full-time, first-time; part-time, first-time; full-time, non-first-time; and part-time, non-first-time.
    Graduation rate 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.
    Graduation Rates (GR) This annual component of IPEDS was added in 1997 to help institutions satisfy the requirements of the Student Right-to-Know legislation. 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. Prior to 2007, institutions who offered athletically-related student aid were asked to report, by sport, the number of students receiving aid and whether they completed within 150 percent of normal time to completion. Now, these institutions only need to report a URL where the athletic data is located on their website, when available. GR automatically generates worksheets that calculate rates, including average rates over 4 years.
    Initial cohort A specific group of individuals established for tracking purposes. For the Graduation Rates (GR) and Outcome Measures (OM) components of IPEDS, the initial cohort is defined as the enrollment count before removing revisions and exclusions of all degree/certificate-seeking students who enter in either (1) the fall term of a given academic year, or (2) between September 1st and August 31st of the following year. For the GR component of IPEDS, the initial cohort is only for full-time, first-time students. For OM, all undergraduates are placed in one of four initial cohorts: full-time, first-time; part-time, first-time; full-time, non-first-time; and part-time, non-first time.
    Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), conducted by the NCES, began in 1986 and involves annual institution-level data collections. All postsecondary institutions that have a Program Participation Agreement with the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE), U.S. Department of Education (throughout IPEDS referred to as "Title IV") are required to report data using a web-based data collection system. IPEDS currently consists of the following components: Institutional Characteristics (IC); 12-month Enrollment (E12);Completions (C); Admissions (ADM); Student Financial Aid (SFA); Human Resources (HR) composed of Employees by Assigned Position, Fall Staff, and Salaries; Fall Enrollment (EF); Graduation Rates (GR); Outcome Measures (OM); Finance (F); and Academic Libraries (AL).
    Normal time to completion The amount of time necessary for a student to complete all requirements for a degree or certificate according to the institution's catalog. This is typically 4 years (8 semesters or trimesters, or 12 quarters, excluding summer terms) for a bachelor's degree in a standard term-based institution; 2 years (4 semesters or trimesters, or 6 quarters, excluding summer terms) for an associate's degree in a standard term-based institution; and the various scheduled times for certificate programs.
    Revised cohort Initial cohort after revisions are made. Cohorts may be revised if an institution discovers that incorrect data were reported in an earlier year.
    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 calculate completion or graduation rates of certificate- or degree-seeking, full-time students entering that institution, and to disclose these rates to all students and prospective students. Further, Section 104 requires each institution that participates in any Title IV program and is attended by students receiving athletically-related student aid to submit a report to the Secretary of Education annually. This report is to contain, among other things, graduation/completion rates of all students as well as 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 parents, coaches, and potential student athletes when the institution offers athletically-related student aid. The Graduation Rates component of IPEDS was developed specifically to help institutions respond to these requirements. See Graduation Rates for the current description of data collected.
    Title IV institution An institution that has a written agreement with the Secretary of Education that allows the institution to participate in any of the Title IV federal student financial assistance programs (other than the State Student Incentive Grant (SSIG) and the National Early Intervention Scholarship and Partnership (NEISP) programs).
    Transfer-out rate Total number of students who are known to have transferred out of the reporting institution within 150% of normal time to completion divided by the adjusted cohort.
    Transfer-out student A student that leaves the reporting institution and enrolls at another institution.
    Transfer-preparatory program A program designed specifically to provide a student with the basic knowledge needed to transfer into a higher level program. For example, this may be the first 2 years of a baccalaureate level program for which the institution does not offer an award, or 2 years of undergraduate study needed for entrance into a first-professional program, or 1 or more years of undergraduate study needed for entrance into health services fields.
    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.

     
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