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External Resources

American Association for Higher Education (AAHEA)
Nongovernmental organization (NGO) that promotes research, collaboration, scholarship, best practices, and evidence-based research among postsecondary institutions in America.

American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)
Offers information on community colleges throughout the country.

Association for Institutional Research (AIR)
Provides information about the field of institutional research.

Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE)
Instrument that NOVA and many community colleges use to gauge the level of student engagement in college. The survey questions assess institutional practices and student behaviors that are correlated highly with student learning and retention.

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)
A primary source for information on U.S. colleges, universities, and technical and vocational institutions. IPEDS data are submitted at the aggregate level from postsecondary institutions and do not contain student-level information. Institutions submit data through 12 interrelated survey components about 6 general higher education topics in 3 collection cycles.

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
Located within the U.S. Department of Education, NCES is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations.

Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC)
Provides demographic and economic analysis, environmental and human services, legislative services, and public information that focuses on the Northern Virginia region.

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
As the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states, SACSCOC is NOVA’s accrediting organization.

State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV)
Offers information relating to higher education in Virginia.

Virginia Community Colleges Association (VCCA)
Member organization for faculty, staff, and colleges that focuses on the community college mission, programs, and services in Virginia.

Virginia Association for Management Analysis and Planning (VAMAP)
As the Virginia state affiliate of AIR, VAMAP unites institutional researchers from across the Commonwealth; the organization advances research and knowledge leading to greater understanding of planning and operation for higher education institutions throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS)
Virginia’s Community Colleges (known formerly as the Virginia Community College System) was created in 1966 to address Virginia’s unmet needs in higher education and workforce development. VCCS governs the 23 community colleges across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

 

Glossary of Institutional Research Terms

Achieving the Dream (ATD)
A multiyear, national program to help community colleges provide all students the best opportunity to earn a college certificate or degree.

Adult Career Pathways (ACP)
A program that addresses credential completion among nontraditional college students. ACP provides a support system that assists students with navigating the pathways to a successful career.

Annual Unduplicated Headcount
The count of the total number of individual students enrolled in one academic year (i.e., Summer, Fall, and Spring).

Awards
Represents the range of awards offered by NOVA, including Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Science (A.S.), Associate of Applied Arts (A.A.A.), Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.), Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.), Certificate, etc.

Campus Types
The home campus is the student’s program campus. Home campus is used to calculate the head count. The course campus is used to compute the FTES.

Career Studies Certificate
A short program of study tailored specifically to a particular career and requiring 10-20 credits (typically, 15 credits). Completion usually takes less than one year of study, depending upon course load and curriculum.

Certificate
A certificate is awarded for the completion of an approved, non-degree curriculum consisting of 30–59 semester credit hours, usually in a career area; a minimum of 15 percent of a certificate’s credit hour requirement is in general education, including one three-credit-hour English course.

CIP Code
Classification of Instructional Programs. A six-digit code in the form xx.xxxx that identifies program specialties within educational institutions.

Cohort
Federal definition of a cohort used in compliance reporting for retention and graduation rates: A degree-seeking student who is enrolled in the fall Fall term who either matriculated in that fall Fall term or in any one of the previous summer Summer sessions. A group of individuals having a common factor (such as age or class membership).

Course Enrollment
Refers to the number of discrete classes in which a given student enrolls; in course enrollment calculations, students are counted more than once if they take more than one course. The “duplicated student count” is also referred to as enrollment. (Note that headcount, also defined in this Glossary, is unrelated to course enrollment.)

Curricular Student
Students are classified as curricular when they declare a major (i.e., when they are admitted to a curriculum within the College).

Curriculum Code
The list of codes in the NOVA’s Schedule of Classes or and College Catalog that representing a course of study (for example, interior design, etc.).

Day/Night Status
As defined by SCHEV, night classes start at 6pm or later; day classes start after 6 am.

Degree-Seeking Student
Students enrolled in courses for credit who are recognized by the institution as seeking a degree or formal award, including certificates.

Employee ID (EMPLID)
EMPLID refers to the unique identification number assigned to each NOVA student, faculty, and staff through VCCS.

Enrollment
Refers to the number of different classes that each student enrolls in; therefore, some students are counted more than once because they take more than one course. The “duplicated student count” is also referred to as enrollment.

Fact Book
NOVA’s compendium of facts and figures regarding budget, enrollment, degrees, faculty and staff, facilities, and other metrics.

Fall-to-Fall Retention
The percentage of students who enroll at NOVA in a Fall semester and then re-enroll in classes at the College for the subsequent Fall semester.

Fall-to-Spring Retention
The percentage of students who enroll at NOVA in a Fall semester and then re-enroll in classes at the College for the Spring semester of the same academic year.

First-Time in College (FTIC)
Students who are attending college for the first time.

First-Time to NOVA (FTTN)
Includes First-Time in College (FTIC) students who attended another college prior to attending NOVA for the first time, regardless of whether they transferred credits (also known as “New Transfer to NOVA” students).

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)
Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) is a measure of credit load. It can be calculated on a semester or annual basis. For undergraduates, total credits are divided by 15 for the semester measure and by 30 for the annual measure (see Full-Time Equivalent Student, below). The Full-Time Equivalent measure can also be used for faculty (see Full-Time Equivalent Faculty, below).

Full-Time Equivalent Faculty (FTEF)
FTEF is calculated by taking the teaching credits for a semester and dividing by 15. It can be computed by College, Campus, discipline, or individual.

Full-Time Equivalent Student (FTES)
FTES is a unit equal to 15 credits and is not equivalent to a full-time student (i.e., a student taking 12+ credits per semester). This term is used often in reporting enrollment numbers. FTES is calculated at each Campus for one semester by adding all the academic credits being taken and dividing by 15. There are three ways to examine FTES:

  • Semester - (i.e., one semester) – Semester FTES are calculated by dividing the total number of semester credits by 15.
  • Regular session - fall (i.e., Fall and spring Spring semesters) – Regular-session FTES are calculated by adding Fall credits and Spring credits and dividing by 30.
  • Annualized (i.e., Summer, Fall, and Spring semesters) – Annualized FTES are calculated by adding Summer credits, Fall credits, and Spring credits and dividing by 30.

Full-/Part-time Student
Students are considered full-time if they are enrolled in 12 or more credits of coursework in a semester or summer term. Students are considered part-time if they are enrolled in fewer than 12 credits of coursework in a semester or summer term.

GPS for Success
A result of NOVA’s College-wide Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), GPS for Success: Teaching and Learning through Academic Advising is an action plan designed to provide a comprehensive advising experience to students who are recent high school graduates, have never been to college before and are enrolled in an academic program. (GPS stands for Goals, Plans, and Strategies.)

Graduate
A program-placed individual who completed a course of study at the College and who graduated with a degree or certificate. See also Program-Placed.

Guided Pathways
An integrated, institution-wide approach to student success based on intentionally designed, clear, coherent, and structured academic experiences, informed by available evidence, that guide each student effectively and efficiently from point of entry through to attainment of high-quality postsecondary credentials and careers with value in the labor market. See also Informed Pathways.

Headcount
The number of students enrolled in classes in a given semester. A student is counted once, regardless of the number of classes that the student took in that semester.

Informed Pathways
Informed Pathways (the term chosen by NOVA) present courses within the framework of structured, educationally coherent program maps that are aligned with students’ goals for careers and further education or workforce entry. See also Guided Pathways.

IRIS
Institutional Research Information System. OIR creates and maintains several types of files to facilitate research analysis. These files are a source of official data for many projects.

Major
The main area of focus within a degree program. For example, Interior Design is a major within the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program.

Noncurricular Student
Students who have not requested admission to a curriculum may still enroll in courses by identifying a reason for enrolling at NOVA. Students are expected to declare a major before completing 30 credit hours of coursework.

NOVA Online
NOVA Online is the distance learning program at NOVA. When FTES is calculated for distance learning students, credits are assigned to the instructor of record’s home campus. NOVA Online was known previously as the Extended Learning Institute (ELI). ELI was renamed NOVA Online in 2018.

Pathway to the Baccalaureate
An award-winning program that addresses barriers to college access, success, and completion for thousands of at-risk students in Northern Virginia through an effective collaboration among K-12, community college, and university partners. Students in the program receive ongoing counseling programming and student support services using a developmental advising model administered through a one-stop, case management approach.

Persistence
The rate at which students persist in their educational goals. The persistence rate is the sum of all retained, graduated, and transferred students divided by the total number of students in the initial cohort.

Planning District 8 (PD-8)
Similar to a Metropolitan Statistical Area, Planning District 8 is the primary service area from which NOVA draws students. PD-8 in Northern Virginia includes the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park, and the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William.

Program-Placed
Students who are enrolled in a degree or certificate program.

SACSCOC
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. SACSCOC is NOVA’s accrediting body.

VCCS
Virginia’s Community Colleges (known formerly as the Virginia Community College System). VCCS was created in 1966 to address Virginia’s unmet needs in higher education and workforce training. VCCS governs the 23 community colleges across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

State and National Statistics

IPEDS Data
Each year, NOVA sends data regarding institutional characteristics, student access, and student success to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

SCHEV Data
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s coordinating body for higher education. SCHEV collects data from all of Virginia’s postsecondary institutions, including NOVA, and makes higher education public policy recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly in such areas as capital and operating budget planning, enrollment projections, institutional technology needs, and student financial aid.

VCCS Data
NOVA is a member of Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS). The College uses the data that it sends to and receives from VCCS for comparison with other VCCS institutions across numerous student success metrics.

Peer Institutions

Austin Community College District (Austin, TX)
Central Piedmont Community College (Charlotte, NC)
City College of San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)
Community College of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh, PA)
Community College of Denver (Denver, CO)
Cuyahoga Community College District (Cleveland, OH)
Houston Community College (Houston, TX)
Lone Star College System (The Woodlands, TX)
Miami Dade College (Miami, FL)
Montgomery College (Rockville, MD)
Pima Community College (Tucson, AZ)
Portland Community College (Portland, OR)
Tidewater Community College (Norfolk, VA)
Valencia College (Orlando, FL)

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