Skip to Main Content

Institutional Research FAQs: Home


Academic Year: Defined on a summer-fall-spring basis for most institutional research purposes.

Adult Student: A student who is at least 25 years of age on July 1 of the academic year.

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. 

Census Date: Date determined for every semester for the purpose of establishing preliminary student headcounts. In the Fall semester, the census date is usually October 15.  In Spring semester, the census date is usually March 15.  In Summer semester, the census date is usually the last day of the semester. On the census date, System and College IR offices “snapshot” the data for 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.

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 or certificate and has received an award. The number of completers in a given year is an unduplicated list of students.

Completions: The number of degrees or certificates awarded to students in a given year.  The number of completions may include multiple degrees earned by individual students.

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.  There are two types of Dual Enrollment students:

  1. students who take College classes in the College environment (on campus or online);
  2. students who take College classes in a high school.  These dual enrollment students are also known as Concurrent students.

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.

Enrollments: the total number of enrollments in courses.  This number will include multiple enrollments by individual students.  See Headcount.

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 or “Snapshot” Data: Data sets preserved for the purpose of providing permanent documentation for enrollment, credit hours, course grades, completions, and so forth.  Examples include census data and program cohorts.

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.  See Enrollments.

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.

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.


Matriculated vs. Non-Matriculated Students: A matriculated student has been accepted for admission to the College, has registered in a major, and is pursuing courses toward a degree or certificate. A non-matriculated student is not registered in a major and is not pursuing a degree or certificate.  Dual enrollment students are considered to be non-matriculated students.

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 YCCC to four-year colleges and other institutions.

Program Review: An internal reporting instrument used for the purpose of academic program planning and assessment.  Academic programs are reviewed by the Maine Community College System Board of Trustees every five years.

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.

Traditional Student: Students under the age of 25.

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 YCCC.