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Office of Institutional Research

IR Glossary of Terms

Academic Year - Usually, consecutive fall and spring semesters, currently August through April; sometimes, however, summer semester is included in the term "academic year." In Florida, the summer term precedes fall and spring semesters in the school year.

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.

Classification of Students - Students are classified on the basis of semester hours earned as follows:

  Freshman: Zero to 29 semester hours (0-35 quarter hours), classification 1
  Sophomore: 30 to 59 semester hours (minimum of 36 quarter hours), classification 2
  Junior: 60 to 89 semester hours and all lower division requirements (a minimum of 84 quarter hours), classification 3
  Senior: 90 semester hours (minimum of 132 quarter hours), classification 4
  Graduate: Any student admitted to a graduate program, classification 5
  Unclassified: Any student not yet admitted to a degree program, including:
      Special Non-Degree Seeking without Baccalaureate Degree, classification 6
      Special Non-Degree Seeking with Baccalaureate Degree, classification 7
      Provisional, classification 8
      Transient, classification 9
      High School Students, classification 0

Credit Hour - College credit is the type of credit assigned to courses or course equivalent learning that is part of an organized and specified program leading to a graduate, baccalaureate, or associate degree. One (1) college credit is based on the learning expected from the equivalent of fifteen (15) fifty-minute periods of classroom instruction; with credits for such things as laboratory instruction, internships, and clinical experience determined by the institution based on the proportion of direct instruction to the laboratory exercise, internship hours, clinical practice hours.

Faculty - A person appointed to a position defined by the Florida Department of Education as faculty; categories include Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, and Instructor. The collective bargaining agreement currently in force at FSU includes in the faculty population all Developmental Research School personnel, all university librarian classifications, staff physicists, and the President.

FTIC (first-time-in-college) - An entering freshman, or a first-year student. Any student entering with fewer than 12 hours of college credit is classified as an FTIC.

Full-time Equivalent (FTE) Student and Calculation Factors - A measure of student enrollment based on the number of student credit hours for which students enroll. Under the semester system, the factors for calculating the number of student FTE's generated are as follows:

  Fall and Spring Terms: 15 undergraduate student credit hours equal 1 FTE; 12 graduate student credit hours equal 1 FTE.
  Summer Term: 10 undergraduate student credit hours equal 1 FTE; 8 graduate student credit hours equal 1 FTE

Full-Time Student - Generally classified as an undergraduate student taking 12 hours or more in the fall or spring, 9 hours or more in the summer; or a graduate student taking 9 hours or more in the fall or spring, 6 hours or more in the summer.

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.)

Instructional Activity File (IAF) - An automated file prepared each term which contains specific data on course section, enrollment and credit hours.

Instruction and Research Data File (IRDF) - A file generated from the Personnel Activity Reporting System which contains detailed data on course section, enrollment, and credit hours, as well as funding and other information on instructors.

IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) - IPEDS is the core postsecondary education data collection program in the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). It was designed to help NCES meet its mandate to report full and complete statistics on the condition of postsecondary education in the United States. It is a single, comprehensive data collection system developed to encompass all institutions and organizations whose primary purpose is to provide postsecondary education. IPEDS is built around a series of interrelated surveys to collect institution-level data in such areas as enrollment, program completions, faculty and staff, and financing.

Major Code - A six-digit number assigned to an area of study designated as the student's major field. (The diploma given by the University indicates the degree awarded and the approved degree program.)

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.

Preliminary Headcount Enrollment - The university student enrollment taken from official data files of the university as of the end of the 28th calendar day of the term.

State Funded (also referred to as fundable) Student Credit Hours - Those student credit hours for which the University receives funding by the state. Not all SCH are state funded - for instance, credit hours produced by some fee waivers and by students enrolled for audit are not state funded.

Student - A person who has actively entered into a relationship with an academic program of the University in an officially recognized capacity.

Student Classification Level (from Student Data Course File) –

Lower Division: A student who has earned fewer than 60 semester credit hours (90 quarter hours), or a student who has not been admitted to upper division.
Upper Division: A student who has earned 60 semester credit hours (90 or more quarter hours), or has an AA degree, or is working toward an additional bachelor's degree.
Beginning Graduate: A graduate student who has been formally admitted to a graduate degree program and is not an advanced graduate student.
Advanced Graduate: A graduate student who has been formally admitted to a recognized doctoral or post-master's degree program and who has accumulated 36 semester credit hours (54 or more quarter hours) toward his/her degree program, or has a master's degree.
Unclassified: A student waiting to be admitted to a degree program, or not seeking a degree.

Student Credit Hours - A measure which is equal to the product of the number of students enrolled in a course section times the number of credit hours for the course section.

Lower Level SCH: Hours generated by courses numbered between 1000 and 2999.
Upper Level SCH: Hours generated by courses numbered 3000-4999.
Graduate I Level SCH: Hours generated by courses numbered between 5000 & 8999, and not Graduate II hours.
Graduate II Level SCH: Hours generated by courses numbered between 5000 and 8999 and student’s classification level is Advanced Graduate and degree level sought is Advanced Master’s, Specialist or Doctorate and student program category is an authorized Doctoral degree program.
Graduate III Level SCH: Medical hours generated by courses numbered between 5000 and 9999.

Student Information File (SIF) - An automated file prepared each term which lists specific data on all students and student enrollments. Before 2007-08, the SIF was called the Student Data Course File (SDCF).

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.