Terms used by Institutional Research and Academic Affair:

Census Date:
The day when official numbers for reports to the Federal government, State agencies, and various national organizations. Census is the 20th day of instruction for each semester. All data are collected on Census date and have been approved by the Chancellor’s Office. The most important Census data submissions are Enrollment Reporting System-Student (ERSS) and Academic Planning Database (APDB).
(Enrollment Reporting System—Student): The Chancellor’s Office uses this to monitor
the status of all students enrolled in State-supported programs. It is the one of the sources for
student FTE count of each campus in the CSU system.
A cohort is a group of students with similar college experience (First-time freshmen,
Undergraduate Transfers, and First-time Classified Graduates) who matriculate together in the
same semester. (Statistical outcomes are considered more meaningful for a homogeneous group).
Cohort Retention and Graduation Rates are the main measures of progress and success for each
group as a whole. The number of students in a cohort remains fixed, unless a rare error is found
in a later year (a senior wrongly classified as a freshman, for example); if necessary that cohort is
recompiled (but this seldom affects group rates).
Retention Rate:
This rate divides the cohort size into the sum of those continuing as
undergraduates plus those who earned a degree during a defined period. The second year
retention rate is a commonly used measurement (students who re-enroll one year after entry).
For example, if there are 2,000 students in the 1999 first time freshman cohort and 1,000 of those
students were still enrolled or graduated four years later, the 4 year retention rate would be 50%
or 1,000/2,000.
Graduation Rate:
Refers to the proportion of entering undergraduates (First-time freshmen and
Transfers) who earned a degree in a specified number of years. The six year graduation rate is a
commonly used measurement.
Retention rate within Major:
A tracking rate which is the sum of those continuing as
undergraduates plus those who earned a degree during a defined period within their original
Graduation Rate within Major:
Refers to the proportion of entering undergraduates (First-time
freshmen and Transfers) who earned a degree in a specified number of years within their
original major.
First-Time Freshman:
A student who has not previously enrolled in an institution of higher
education, but who may have earned some college units prior to matriculation. First-time, first year freshman) student: A student attending any institution for the first time at the undergraduate level. Includes students enrolled in the fall term who attended college for the first time in the prior summer term. Also includes students who entered with advanced standing (college credits earned before graduation from high school).
Regular Admission:
A student who meets all the stated academic requirements for admission to
the University.
Exceptional Admission (Special Admit):
Campuses are allowed to admit students who are not
academically eligible for admission, but are considered disadvantaged. This category could also
refer to students with special talents such as athletic or musical abilities. The number of these special admits does not exceed 8 percent of all undergraduates who enrolled during the previous
Acceptance Rate (admission rate):
Equals number of students admitted divided by number
who applied. It is one of the criteria for evaluating a university’s selectivity.
Yield Rate (show rate):
Equals number of students enrolled divided by number admitted. It is
one of the criteria for evaluating a university’s recruitment effort.
Enrollment Status:
A coding system which classifies the current enrollment of a student and
distinguishes between new, continuing, returning, and transitory students.
Continuing Students:
Refers to students who had enrolled the previous semester and returned
for the current term.
Returning Students:
Refers to students who had enrolled previously, left for more than one
term, and were readmitted.
Transitory Students:
Students primarily enrolled at another educational institution (often a
high school) but have permission to take courses for credit at University. Includes visitors from
other CSU’s and international students on one-to-one exchange programs.
Includes all individuals who did not self-report a racial/ethnic background
or specifically “declined to state” their ethnicity.
Headcount of Major:
Counts only the students who have declared majors. Anyone without a
major counts as “Undeclared” and is excluded from the enrollment count of colleges/departments.
Term GPA:
Refers to the GPA a student has earned at the conclusion of a semester for courses
taken in that semester.
Degree GPA:
Refers to the overall (cumulative) GPA a student has earned at the time the
degree was awarded. Includes University and transfer courses.
Campus GPA:
Refers to the cumulative GPA for University courses only.
Weighted Teaching Units (WTU):
It is a measure of faculty workload. For example, a lecture
class that meets three hours per week generates 3 WTU. CS Number is generated at APDB file
and used to define the type of courses.
Student Credit Units (SCU):
Identifies the total number of earned course credit units for all
students enrolled in a given section. For example, HRS 122 in spring 2007 was a 3-unit class
with 48 students enrolled. Thus, SCU is computed as 48*3=144.
Student Full-time Equivalent (FTES):
The FTES calculation adjusts headcount enrollment for differences associated with having skewed distributions of either part-time or full time students. If students at a campus attempt less than 15 student credit hours, on average, then FTE enrollment will be lower than headcount enrollment. And if students at a campus attempt more than 15 student credit hours, on average, then FTE enrollment will be higher than headcount enrollment. If students at a campus attempt 15 student credit hours, on average, then FTE enrollment and headcount enrollment will be the same.

Re-benching is a term used to define the FTES calculation for Master’s (Classified Graduate) student credit units which began Fall 2006 by dividing by 12 instead of 15 or AY Master’s (Classified Graduate Students) FTES x 1.25. The ERS report uses this calculation to report both the graduate FTES and the re-benched Master’s FTES.

The sum of Student Credit Units (SCU) divided by 15.

Starting fall 2006, FTES is SCU/12 for Classified Graduate Students (re-bench methodology) plus SCU/15 for all other
students. (Unclassified Graduate Students include post baccalaureates pursuing a second
bachelor’s degree, or otherwise not admitted to a graduate degree, or credential program
students; these students are combined with undergraduates when computing FTES.) For
example, HRS 122 in spring 2007 was a 3-credit class with 47 undergraduate students and 1
classified graduate student enrolled. Thus, FTES is computed as
(47*3)/15+ (1*3)/12=9.4+0.25=9.65

Increase FTES by (a) increase class size; (b) teach new classes; (c) supervise more projects; (d) supervise more researchers.

NOTE: FTES calculated from the student enrollment file (ERSS) should be close, but not exactly equal, to that calculated from the course section file (APDB). Using the different file structures leads to different types of rounding error.

School/Department FTES:
By using the same formula (see above), FTES is credited to the
School/department which offers the courses. A student’s FTE is credited to the English
Department if that student took English 101 in a semester (regardless of the student’s major).
Full-time Equivalent Faculty (FTEF):
Each full-time (workload of 15 weighted teaching units)
permanent faculty member is defined as 1.0 FTEF, even though he/she teaches only nine months
a year. The FTEF for a part-time faculty member is defined as workload divided by 15. For
example, a part-time faculty member teaching two three-unit classes is counted as 6/15=0.4
Tenured or tenure track counts as 1.0 FTE. Faculty Early Retirement Program
(FERP) counts as 0.5 FTE. Faculty not on tenure track is calculated as instructional WTU/15=1 FTE. It also includes any faculty on sabbatical.
Instructional FTEF:
All faculty members are counted as instructional WTU divided by 15
regardless of their status. Therefore, All FTEF could be different from Instructional FTEF if the
tenured or on tenure track faculty do not teach a full workload (15 WTU).
Instruction Faculty Fraction (IFF):
An element that specifies the portion of a faculty
appointment supported by instructional funds. For Example, a faculty member with a full-time
teaching appointment would have an IFF of 1.0.
Instructional Administrative Fraction (IAF):
Defines the administrative work assigned and
the term of appointment, such as Department Chairs, Associate or Assistant Department Chairs,
Athletic Directors, Coordinator of teacher education, Deans, Associate and Assistant Deans.
Other Support Fraction (OSF):
Indicates the share of a faculty appointment that is
supported by state budget funding, including the full appointment fraction (1.0) of a person who
is teaching one or more sections and is being paid from state funds budgeted to accounts other
than instruction or instructional administration, and reimbursed faculty time.
Student-Faculty Ratio (SFR):
The SFR is calculated as the Full-time Equivalent Students (FTES) divided by the Full-time Equivalent Faculty (FTEF). However, the FTEF is the sum of the Instructional Faculty Fraction (IFF) reported on the FAD. Both the Instructional Administrative Fraction (IAF) and the Other Support Fraction (OSF) are subtracted from the IFF, improper reporting can over-inflate the SFR. So for campus planning and evaluation, the IAF and OSF must be reported accurately and assigned time should not be coded as IAF.
Staff Full-time Equivalent:
The number of full-time equivalent staff employees. For example,
if the clerical staff of a department includes one full-time secretary and another who works only
10 months a year, then the size of its clerical staff is 1 + 10/12=1.83 FTE.
Grade Codes
A-F - Letter grade (+/- grades except no A+ and no F+)
CR – Credit
NC - No credit
I – Incomplete
WU – Withdrawal Unauthorized
W – Withdrawal
Other Codes:
AU - Audit
RD - Report Delayed
RP - Report in Progress
Time to Degree:
The total length of time it takes a student, from his/her first day of class, to
receive a degree. For CSU analysis purposes, total time to degree (TTD) is a measure of the time lapse between matriculations to degree completion.
Full-time Employee:
Persons employed 100 percent time. Also includes persons on leave.
Permanent Faculty:
Faculty who are tenured or on tenure track.
Temporary Faculty:
Faculty who are not on tenure track nor in FERP program even if their
total contract time or instructional WTU may be equal to1.0 FTEF.
FERP Faculty:
Refers to persons who participate in the Faculty Early Retirement Program.
Full-Time Graduate Student:
A graduate student taking 8 or more units is considered full-time.
Full-Time Undergraduate Student:
An undergraduate student taking 12 or more units is
considered full-time.
Team-taught Courses:
Refers to the courses taught by more than one faculty. The FTES of the
courses is divided among the instructors, according to the percentage of instruction assigned to
each instructor.
Faculty with Multiple Departments:
Refers to the faculty who teach in more than one
department. The FTES is divided among the departments based on course enrollment. The
FTEF is also divided based on the proportion of the WTU/15 in each department.


  • CSU Student Enrollment System Reference Manual
  • CSU Academic Planning Database Reference Manual