Institutional Research Glossary

The following definitions may assist faculty and staff in understanding the terminology of Institutional Research at Delgado.  Please note that other offices of the College may have their own standardized definitions for some of the terms shown.

Academic Year: Defined on a summer-fall-spring basis for most institutional research purposes; aligns with Board of Regents convention for identifying academic year.

Adult Student: Defined by Board of Regents as a student who is at least 25 years of age on July 1 of the academic year.

Board of Regents: Principal governing body for all public higher education institutions in the state of Louisiana.  Collector of end-of-semester census and other official data of the College.

Career and Technical Education (CTE): classification for programs designed to prepare graduates for immediate entry into the workforce, as opposed to programs designed for transfer to a four-year institution.  At Delgado, CTE programs receive dedicated funding from the Carl Perkins grant.

Census Date (also commonly known as “14th Day”): Date determined for every semester for the purpose of establishing preliminary student headcounts. In fall and spring semesters, the census date is usually the 14th class day.  In summer sessions, this date is usually the 7th class day.  At the end of a semester/session, this preliminary census data is ordinarily superseded by the end-of-semester census (SSPS data) for most official recordkeeping and reporting purposes. 

Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) Code
: A six-digit, nationally recognized code that identifies instructional programs within educational institutions.  Used in Board of Regents reporting for identifying students according to major, as well as IPEDS reporting for annual completers.

Cognos: Online reporting software housing many reports used by Institutional Research staff for state and federal reporting, and for internal data analysis.

Cohort: The official entering group of all first-time, full-time, degree- and credential-seeking students; most often reported on a fall semester basis.  For purposes of measuring graduation and retention rates, a student’s outcomes are assessed relative to the cohort in which they originally entered the College.

Completer: A student who has fulfilled all requirements of a degree, diploma, certificate, or other recognized credential and has received an award.  For most federal and state reporting purposes, students counted as completers are those who have received a credential recognized by the Louisiana Board of Regents.

Continuing Student: A student who has enrolled at the College for two or more consecutive major semesters.

Dual Enrollment Student: A student who is enrolled both in high school and in one or more credit-earning courses at the College.

Enrolled Student: (for purposes of Institutional Research reporting) a student who is contained in an end-of-semester census reported to Board of Regents; ordinarily a student is contained in this census if they were registered in at least one credit-earning course during a semester and received a transcript mark.  Note: while registered students are tracked leading up to and during the start of academic semesters, a registered student does not subsequently count as an enrolled student if they drop all of their courses during the add/drop period.

First-Time Freshman: A student attending the College for the first time and who has never attended a higher education institution previously.

First-Time, Full-Time, Degree/Credential-Seeker: A student enrolled in higher education for the first-time, taking a full-time credit load, and majoring in a program leading to a degree or other credential.  

Frozen Data: Data sets preserved for the purpose of providing permanent documentation for enrollment, credit hours, course grades, completions, and so forth.  Examples include the end-of-semester census (SSPS data) and the annual Board of Regents Completers census, both of which represent permanent, official data of the College.

FTE (Full-Time Equivalent): A uniform measure of the total student body at the College based on credit hour enrollment; usually assessed on an annual, academic year basis.  Federal reporting guidelines define one (1) FTE as equivalent to 30 credit hours.  The College’s annual FTE is calculated by adding up the total enrolled credit hours for the academic year, then dividing this total by 30.

Graduation Rate: Measure of how many first-time, full-time, degree- and credential-seeking students receive an award at the College within a uniform time window based on program length.  In the most standard measure, graduation rate is obtained by computing the percentage of students in an entering fall cohort who complete a credential within 150% of the normal time to complete their program.

Headcount: The number of unduplicated students enrolled during a given semester or time period.  “Unduplicated” indicates that each student is included in the headcount only once.

IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System): Report portal administered by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, used by institutions to fulfill federal reporting mandates.  IPEDS reports submitted by the College include Institutional Characteristics, Completions, Fall Enrollment, and Graduation Rates.  Data reported to IPEDS appears in multiple public-facing informational tools including College Navigator and College Scorecard.

LAPAS (Louisiana Performance and Accountability System): Reporting portal administered by the Louisiana Division of Administration, Office of Planning and Budget, requiring quarterly updates on key performance indicators.  For public higher education institutions, these performance indicators include enrollment headcount, graduation and retention rates, and the number of completers.

Live Data: Data captured in real-time, as opposed to frozen data, the latter of which is preferable to use for most institutional research purposes.

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES): Data collection and analysis arm of the U.S. Department of Education.

National Student Clearinghouse: A nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that provides educational reporting services for colleges and universities.  Clearinghouse services are often used to monitor the progress of students who transfer from Delgado to four-year colleges and other institutions.

Program Health Index: A reporting instrument administered by the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) for assessing the sustainability of academic programs.

Program Review: An internal reporting instrument used for the purpose of academic program planning and assessment.

Retention Rate: Measure of how many first-time, full-time, degree- and credential-seeking students remain enrolled at the College the next semester or year after entry.  In the most standard measure, retention is assessed by computing the percentage of students in an entering fall cohort who return to the College the next fall or who graduated and left during this window.

Returning Student: A student who has been re-admitted to the College after one or more major semesters (Fall/Spring) of not enrolling.

SCH (Student Credit Hours): The total of credit hours taken by a student in a designated period.  Also reported as a total for the entire College, in the College’s end-of-semester Board of Regents census and in the IPEDS 12-Month Enrollment component.

Statewide Student Profile System (SSPS) Data: A frozen data set submitted to Board of Regents at the end of every semester, representing the College’s official census for student demographics and course outcomes.  This data set is typically the source for reporting to state and federal governing bodies.

Transfer Student (transfer-in): A student who enrolls at the College after previously enrolling at one or more other higher education institutions.

Transfer Student (transfer-out): A student who enrolls at another higher education institution after enrolling at Delgado.

Under-Represented Minority Student: Defined by Board of Regents as a student of one the following race categories: American Indian or Alaskan Native; Black, Non-Hispanic; Hispanic; Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.