First-Time Student
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). 

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.

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.  

Part-Time Student
 
Undergraduate: A student enrolled for either less than 12 semester or quarter credits, or less than 24 contact hours a week each term. Graduate: A student enrolled for less than 9 semester or quarter credits.  

Attainment Rate
 
Educational attainment refers to the highest level of education that an individual has completed. This is distinct from the level of schooling that an individual is attending.  

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.  

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.  

Two-year Institution
 
A postsecondary institution that offers programs of at least 2 but less than 4 years duration. Includes occupational and vocational schools with programs of at least 1800 hours and academic institutions with programs of less than 4 years. Does not include bachelor’s degree-granting institutions where the baccalaureate program can be completed in 3 years.  

Four-year Institution
 
A postsecondary institution that offers programs of at least 4 years duration or one that offers programs at or above the baccalaureate level. Includes schools that offer post baccalaureate certificates only or those that offer graduate programs only. Also includes free-standing medical, law or other first-professional schools.  

White (non-Hispanic)
 
A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East (except those of Hispanic origin).  

Black (non-Hispanic)
 
A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.  

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.  

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

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.  

IPEDS Data Center
 
The IPEDS Data Center is the single entry point for retrieving IPEDS data. Using the data center, one can easily download data files for one or more institutions with information from any of the IPEDS components or download complete data files, produce a variety of reports, or create group statistics. The data center replaces the old IPEDS Peer Analysis System and Dataset Cutting Tool, and features improvements in navigation, institution selection, and variable selection, as well as increased on-screen help.  

 
**IPEDS glossary of definitions, U.S. Census Bureau