HSU IRP Data Dictionary

This is a list of the most commonly used data elements and abbreviations used by the HSU Office of Institutional Research and Planning (IRP). For a complete list of fields used in data files, see the ODD Data Dictionary. For a complete list of terms as defined by Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), see http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/glossary.

Alphabetical Data Element List:


ACADEMIC PLANNING DATA BASE (APDB) - Class Sections and Faculty files transmitted to the Chancellor’s Office each term for standardized system-wide reporting. The campus uses 2 reports from this system: FAD - Faculty Assignments by Department, and the CSR – Course Section Report provides FTEF data to derive Student/Faculty Ratios.

ACADEMIC STANDING (acadStanding) - Academic standing (GOOD, PROB, REIN, DISQ, or blank if a new student) during term (based on the previous term).

ACADEMIC STANDING END OF TERM (acadStanding_EOT; Acad Stding) - Academic standing (GOOD, PROB, REIN, DISQ, or blank if a new student) at the end of the term current term.

ACADEMIC YEAR (AY) - Academic Year (AY) refers to Fall and Spring terms only. AY averages are the sum of Fall and Spring divided by 2. An academic year does not include the summer term; however, a COLLEGE YEAR does. Academic_Year

ACTIVE ADMITS - excludes students who have told us they do not plan to attend and those who have been denied admittance.

ACTIVE APPS - excludes applications that have been withdrawn, denied, or who have told us they do not plan to attend.

AVERAGE ANNUAL DATA - Average annual data is usually published for the Academic Year terms (Fall and Spring). It is compiled and posted in July or early August after all year-end records processing is complete.

AVERAGE UNITS/STUDENT - The average unit-per-student load is a measure of the student ability to move toward the completion of a degree objective.



CLASS - Class level based on units earned: freshmen (less than 30 units), Sophomore (30 to less than 60 units), Junior (60 to less than 90 units), Senior (90 or more units).

CENSUS DATE - The date of official count of majors and class enrollments as of the 4th week of instruction each term (spring and fall). Most of the student headcount and FTES data is based on census enrollments. The statistics for each term are usually published about 1-2 weeks after the official census date depending on how long it takes to clean the data of errors.

CENSUS ENROLLMENT - This is the official count of students (Headcount), majors, and class enrollments as of the official census date.

COHORT - A cohort is a group of students who start at the same time and in similar situations. IRP defines three cohorts based on CSU application status and number of units enrolled in during the first term: FTFTUG, LDxfer, and UDxfer.

COLLEGE - The college associated with the student's major. Humboldt State has three colleges: Arts, Humanities & Social Science, Natural Resources & Science, and Professional Studies; see the HSU Colleges, Departments, Study Fields, and Majors for detailed information.

COLLEGE YEAR (CY) - College year (CY) refers to all state-supported terms.  Summer is considered the leading term for a college year. College year averages are the sum of Summer, Fall, and Spring, divided by 2.  Another way to look at this is that one-half of Summer FTES is added to the Academic Year average to obtain College Year averages.

COMPARABLE DATE (TO-DATE) - reports initially use the number of days to (or from) the start of application cycle (e.g. Oct 1 for fall terms). As we move through the application cycle, the comparable date will change to reflect year-to-year variations in significant dates, such as the number of days to (or from) the actual start of term. Because of changes in processing, the numbers in the different columns are not always comparable. For example, students are now allowed to apply as early as Oct 1 via the web - in the past, we didn't begin processing fall applications until November 1. Also, the number and dates of HOP sessions do not remain the same from year to year, so registrations numbers may vary widely. Further explanation from the Office of Enrollment Management may be required to fully understand year-to-year differences.

CONFIRMED - includes any student who has told us they intended to enroll, applied to attend a future HOP session, paid a housing deposit, or registered for classes.

CONTINUING STUDENT - Those previously enrolled at the University. A Continuing Student may be new to a program as a change of major, but not new to the University.

COURSE NUMBERING - The table below briefly describes the course number system, but for detailed information see the HSU Catalogue and HSU Policies.

Level Indicators Students (typically) Course Numbers
Remedial Freshmen 001-099
LD – Lower Division Freshmen/Sophomores 100-299
UD – Upper Division Juniors/Seniors 300-499,
GR – Graduate Level Graduate/Post-Bacc 500-699
CR - Credential/Licensure Credential 700-799

CREDENTIAL - students are enrolled with the primary objective of earning a teaching credential.


DEGREE - the primary degree objective (BA, BS, MA, MS, MFA, MSW, PBCRED, or 0 for none).

DEGREES GRANTED - The number of degrees granted in a College Year (Summer, Fall, and Spring).

DEPARTMENT - Description of the University department that houses the student's major; see the HSU Colleges, Departments, Study Fields, and Majors for detailed information.


ENROLLED - applicants includes anyone who attended school as a result of a particular application. This number may not always match census registration numbers for new students, since anyone who registers and then withdraws is eligible to enroll the following term without reapplying. This exception means that the number of enrolled applicants for a given term may actually change if one or more of these students ends up enrolling later without reapplying.

ETHNICITY [ETHNICITY_CIT] - nine categories of ethnicity/race (CSU breakdown). Some prospective students tell us their ethnicity before they apply to the University; however, most answer this question on their CSU application. A few students decline to provide this information and are considered unknown. See Race for related information.


FEDERAL FAMILY EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACT (FERPA) - affords students certain rights with respect to their educational records. See the HSU Registrars website for more information (http://pine.humboldt.edu/reg/students/ferpa.html).

FIRST GENERATION (1st Gen or First Gen) - At the time of CSU application, neither parent graduated from a 4-year college.

FIRST-TIME FULL-TIME UNDERGRADUATES (FTFTUG) - Same definition as FTUG (see above), except that the student has enrolled full-time (12 or more units) for their first term. HSU does not ask students about their objective in college, so the status of full-time during the first term is used to show intentionality of the student to finish a four-year degree.

FIRST-TIME UNDERGRADUATES (FTUG) or FIRST-TIME FROSH - Includes all matriculated first-year students, even if they have enough units to be considered sophomores/juniors, who enroll in the fall semester. FTUG does not include current high-school students taking classes at Humboldt (see TRANSITORY).

FULL-TIME EQUIVALENT FACULTY (FTEF) - Identifies the fractions of faculty positions used to teach the FTES. This number excludes faculty time not used for teaching, such as department chair administrative time.

FULL-TIME EQUIVALENT STUDENTS (FTES) – Every 12 units taken by a students working on a Masters degree or 15 units taken by all other students counts as one FTE.  (Before the summer of 2006, 15 units applied to all students, including Masters. Some reports the older or archived reports may still report FTEs according to the older definition.)


GENDER - The term gender in higher education is often defined as: "the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex." (www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gender). For the purposes of IRP data, this is not the case. The CSU Application asks students to select male, female, or declined to state and that information is coded as M, F, or null under the field name: SEX. For the purposes of IRP data, gender is simply M and F spelled out as Male and Female.

GRADES - See the Office of the Registrar's website for more information: http://pine.humboldt.edu/reg/students/regulations/grades.html

GRADE POINT AVERAGE (GPA) - There are multiple fields (variables) that measure GPA in different ways and at different times. Each semester a student has a value for their overall cumulative GPA, HSU cumulative GPA, Remedial cumulative GPA. After a term ends and grades are posted, students then get values for end of term (EOT) which includes Overall GPA EOT, HSU GPA EOT, and term GPA EOT.

The cumulative grade point average, including transfer work; graduate student GPA does not include undergraduate work; this is generally a current value, even if a past term has been specified; (see XFERGPA and HSUGPA).

GRADUATION RATES - A graduation rate is the cumulative percentage of a cohort who started in given fall term and graduated within a designated period of time in 1 year increments. For example, the “graduated in five years” rate for fall 2008 FTFTUG cohort is the percentage of fall 2008 first-time full-time undergraduates who graduated from HSU by the fall 2013 term, including those students who completed their courses during the summer of 2013 (CSU Explanatory Notes)


HEAD COUNT (HC) - Unduplicated number of students enrolled for a particular term at Census. See Census Enrollment for other types of enrollment counts.

HIGH-IMPACT PRACTICES - Activities that educational research suggests increase rates of student retention and student engagement. More information at: http://www.calstate.edu/itl/resources/practices/ and http://calstate.edu/engage/taxonomies/index.shtml.

HSU GPA (HSUGPA) - Current cumulative grade point average of credit bearing courses taken at HSU. See GPA for more information.

HIGH SCHOOL GPA (GPA_HS) - This is the CSU application reported high school GPA. This GPA is replaced with confirmed transcript GPA for registered students. See GPA for more information.


HSU ID NUMBER (HSUID) - the nine digit ID assigned by the University to all individuals in our database (replaced SSN) with a hyphen between the 4th and 5th digit.


INQUIRED - includes all prospective students who asked for information about Humboldt State University. It does not include those we mailed a SEARCH letter to who did not respond. If a student inquired but did not apply for multiple terms, they are only counted as an inquiry for term they mentioned most recently. Applicants are counted for every term they submitted an application.

INSTITUTION OF ORIGIN - Is the school a student attended before applying to HSU. For freshmen or graduate students, this will generally be the high school or college they graduated from. For transfers, this will be the institution where they earned the greatest number of units. When looking at longitudinal data, graduates students who completed school at HSU will show HSU as their institution of origin in their grad record while their undergrad record will remain the same.

INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD (IRB) - An IRB is a committee that performs ethical review of proposed research (Office for Human Research Protections ). For information regarding the HSU IRB, see their website for more information (http://www.humboldt.edu/hsuf/irb.php)

INTEGRATED POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION DATA SYSTEM (IPEDS) - Every institutions that participate in federal student aid programs report data to IPDES on enrollments, program completions, graduation rates, faculty and staff, finances, institutional prices, and student financial aid. See more at: http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/






LOWER DIVISION TRANSFER (LDxfer) - Students who transfer to HSU, but have completed fewer than 60 transferable semester (90 quarter) units. See Transfer for more information.

LOW INCOME (low_income) - Family's taxable income (total-standard deduction) less than 150% federal poverty level.


MAJOR - Description of the student's current major; see the HSU Colleges, Departments, Study Fields, and Majors for detailed information.

MASTERS - are students seeking a master's degree (MA, MBA, MS, MSW, or MFA).

MINOR - students may declare a minor or a second major, but are not required to do so until they apply for graduation. Because of this, the minor code information provided for current students is extremely incomplete.


NATIONAL STUDENT CLEARINGHOUSE - More than 3,500 colleges and universities, enrolling over 98% of all students in public and private U.S. institutions, participate in the Clearinghouse. Participating institutions provide access to actual enrollment and degree information on each of their students to us. See more at: www.studentclearinghouse.org/

NEW STUDENTS - New Students identifies those newly admitted to the University for a given term.


ORIGIN OF STUDENTS - Based on the prior Institution of Origin attended and depends on the type of student. Some reports group origin by state, county, city, or zip code. Other reports use regions defined by the Enrollment Planning Service, augmented by a “local” region consisting of 955xx zip codes. Read more about Region of Origin.


PELL GRANT - The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain postbaccalaureate students to promote access to postsecondary education. See more at: www2.ed.gov/programs/fpg/index.html

PERSISTENCE RATE - A measure of the rate at which students persist in any educational program at any institution from one year to the next, expressed as a percentage. HSU does not currently report a persistence rate; however, the Voluntary System of Accountability’s College Portrait tracks a reports this data for one cohort at a time. For more information, see http://www.collegeportraits.org/CA/HSU/undergrad_success.




RACE - Humboldt State University and the California State University Chancellor's Office uses the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) definition for race and ethnicity based on the 1997 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) definition. Categories developed in 1997 by the OMB that are used to describe groups to which individuals belong, identify with, or belong in the eyes of the community. The categories do not denote scientific definitions of anthropological origins. See more at: http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/reic/definitions.asp

See the 1997 report on Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity for more information on the minimum categories for data on race and ethnicity for Federal statistics, program administrative reporting, and civil rights compliance reporting.

REGION OF ORIGIN - The Enrollment Planning Service (EPS) regions are grouped by “market areas,” defined according to demographic similarities. While the EPS markets and region groups shown below are similar, they are not identical. For an exact definition of EPS regions and markets, please refer to reference manuals published by the Enrollment Planning Service.

Origin Counties or States
Local Humboldt and Del Norte
Northern CA Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sonoma, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo, Yuba
SF Bay Area Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano
Sacramento Sacramento
Coast Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz
Central CA Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Inyo, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne
Los Angeles Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura
San Diego Imperial, San Diego
WUE States Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, North Datoka, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, South Datoka, Utah, Washington, Wyoming
Out of State Other U.S. States
Foreign Foreign Countries

RESIDENCY - R for CA resident, N for out of state, F for foreign

RETENTION RATE - A measure of the rate at which students persist in their educational program at an institution from one year to the next, expressed as a percentage. At HSU, this is the percentage of a fall cohort that is enrolled in a subsequent fall term. It is thus possible for a student to be retained for 1-year and 3-years, but not 2-years if the student had taken their second fall term off. 

RETURNING UG - Are past Humboldt students who are applying to be readmitted after a period of nonattendance. Returning post-baccalaureate applicants are included with new students in their respective categories (masters, credential, 2nd bachelors, or unclassified).


SECOND BACHELORS (2nd BACHELORS) - Student already has earned an undergraduate degree and are interested in getting another.

SEX - The CSU Application asks students to select male, female, or declined to state and that information is coded as M, F, or null. For data presentation purposes, this field is recoded as GENDER which spells out 'Male' and 'Female'.

STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT MEASURE (SAM) - A partnership between a university, the National Student Clearinghouse, SAM, and the Voluntary System of Accountability to provide an improved way to report student progress and graduation by including a greater proportion of an institution’s undergraduate students as well as tracking students who enroll in multiple higher education institutions. For more information on SAM, see the SAM Website or to see SAM data for HSU see the College Portrait Student Success & Progress Rate Webpage.

History Note: In June 2013, HSU was among the first nine California universities to begin participating in SAM and displaying results on the VSA College Portrait website (http://www.studentachievementmeasure.org/participants). On August 20, 2013 the CSU Chancellors Office began requiring all CSU's to participate in SAM.

STUDENT CLASSIFICATION - Identifies the progress a student is making towards their degree.

Student Classification Unit value ranges
Freshmen less than 30
Sophomore 30 to less than 60
Junior 60 to less than 90
Senior 90 or more

STUDENT FACULTY RATIO (SFR) - The FTES Taught in a discipline divided by the FTE Faculty positions used to conduct the instruction.

STUDENT-RIGHT-TO-KNOW ACT - The Federal government prescribes a student cohort for reporting persistence and graduation rates.  This cohort consists of first-time full-time freshmen. All admit types are included (Federal reporting definition). See more information at: nces.ed.gov/ipeds/glossary/index.asp?id=625

STUDY FIELDS - Description of the University study fields that houses the student's major; see the HSU Colleges, Departments, Study Fields, and Majors for detailed information.


TERM - Is based on a six digit banner code, the first four digits are the year, the last two are 20, 30, or 40 for spring, summer, or fall (e.g. 200340). In PeopleSoft, term is a four digit code consisting of the year (first digit and last two digits) followed by the term type (2=Spring, 3=Summer, 4=Fall). For example 2134 = Fall 2013, 2142 = Spring 2014, 2143 = Summer 2014.

TERM NAME - Based on TERM, this field recodes term into a descriptive field of term type (Fall, Spring, or Summer) followed by the four digit year (e.g. Fall 2014).

TRANSFER STUDENT (TRANSFERS, Xfer) - are all undergraduates transferring from another institution. There are two kinds of cohorts designated within transfers – Lower Division Transfer (LDxfer) and Upper Division Transfer (UDxfer). For more information, see the Office of Admissions website.


UNCLASSIFIED GR - are post-bacheloriate students who are taking classes, but are not yet in a degree granting program.� Some of these students are seeking a Certificate of Study; others are taking classes in preparation for applying to a degree program.

UNDERREPRESENTED MINORITY STUDENTS (URM) - The term “underrepresented minority” (URM) has many different definitions that vary by institution to include classification based on racial/ethnic categories, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and disability (Page, Castillo-Page, Poll-Hunter, Garrison, & Wright, 2013). The California State University System (CSU Analytic Studies, 2013) does not currently mandate a single definition and recommends that campuses tailor their definition according to an external reporting agency.

For the purposes of HSU IRP studies and reports, underrepresented minority (URM) students include students who at the time of admission self-reported their ethnicity as Hispanic or Latino and/or their race as Black or African-American, American Indian and Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander. Beginning in 2009, students were able to select more than one race, thus URM also includes all students who indicated they had two or more races, but at least one from the above three races. Non-underrepresented (non-URM) students include White, Asian, or a combination of both races. Students who declined to state, left the ethnicity and race question blank, or who were non-resident aliens were categorized as unknown. Readers may also be interested in reading the definitions for ethnicity and race.

UPPER DIVISION TRANSFER (UDxfer) - Students who transfer to HSU, and have completed more than 60 transferable semester (90 quarter) units. See Transfer for more information.


VOLUNTARY SYSTEM OF ACCOUNTABILITY - An initiative by public 4-year universities to supply clear, accessible, and comparable information on the undergraduate student experience to important constituencies through a common web report – the College Portrait. See more at: www.voluntarysystem.org/


WESTERN UNDERGRADUATE EXCHANGE (WUE) - A program that allows students from 14 Western US states to attend an out-of-state university for near in-state prices. See more at: www.humboldt.edu/wue/


XFER (Xfer) - An abbreviation used to refer to a trasnfer student.




ZAG - One of a series of sharp turns (i.e. to Zigzag). It is has nothing to do with this dictionary, but it's a good word to know!


California State University Office of the Chancellor, Analytic Studies. CSU Graduation Rates Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange (CSRDE) - Explanatory Notes. www.asd.calstate.edu/csrde/index.shtml#intro

California State University Office of the Chancellor, Analytic Studies. (2013, June 27). URM Definitions Unpublished Report.

Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. (1997). Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg_1997standards/

Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp

Page, K. R., Castillo-Page, L., Poll-Hunter, N., Garrison, G., & Wright, S.M. (2013). Assessing the evolving definition of underrepresented minority and its application in academic medicine. Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, 88, 67-72. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e318276466c.