Data Definitions

Throughout our website we utilize terms, that are very familiar to the members of the institutional research community, but perhaps require some clarification for individuals outside that community. Using our Data Definitions, you can find definitions of some commonly used terms in institutional research.


Average HS GPA: The mean high school GPA earned by the cohort of new first-time students. Note that some high schools in Maryland weight GPAs depending on the level of the course. Therefore, it is possible to obtain a high school GPA greater than 4.0.

Average Transfer GPA: The mean GPA earned by the cohort of new transfer students at their previous institutions.

Count of Majors: Reports utilizing a count of majors consist of numbers based on majors, not headcount. Students with more than one major are counted more than once.

EEO category: The Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) classification of a position used for reporting purposes. It is derived from the appointment title. Some examples are: Exec, Adm, Mgr, Faculty, Professional, Clerical, and Skilled Crafts.

Freshman: An undergraduate student who has accumulated between 0 and 29 credits, including credits transferred to UMD.

Frozen Degree Data: Captured once per year at the end of the fiscal year. Official reporting data.

Full Time: An undergraduate student who is enrolled for 12 or more credit hours or a graduate student who is enrolled for 48 or more units.

Geographic Origin: The permanent residence where a student is/was living at the time of undergraduate or graduate application to attend UMD. The geographic origin is not necessarily the same as the country of citizenship. Geographic origin is derived from the permanent address of the student as reported in the application.

Graduation Rate: The proportion of first-time, full-time, degree-seeking students who started in a given cohort year and graduated with a degree from UMD after the specified number of years.

Job Category: This is a different way of grouping employees. Here, they are grouped into Professor, Assoc Professor, Assistant Professor, Lecturer, Other Faculty, Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants, and Other Staff.

Junior: An undergraduate student who has accumulated between 60 and 89 credits, including credits transferred to UMD.

New First-time Student: An undergraduate student who is new to any postsecondary institution (summer school attendance excluded). A new first-time student can have advanced standing.

New Graduate Student: A student who is new to a graduate program at UMD.

New Transfer: An undergraduate student who has transferred from another postsecondary institution and is new to UMD.

Other UG: An undergraduate student whose class standing is post-baccalaureate or special non-degree.

Part Time: An undergraduate student who is enrolled for fewer than 12 credit hours or a graduate student who is enrolled for fewer than 48 units.

Refreshed Degree Data: Refreshed twice a year, replacing old data. The historical figures are updated when a degree is entered into the database after the end of the fiscal year.

Retention Rate: The proportion of first-time, full-time, degree-seeking students who started in a given cohort year and are enrolled at UMD after the specified number of years.

Returning Graduate: A graduate student who had attended UMD prior to the current semester in the same graduate program.

Returning Undergraduate: An undergraduate student who had attended UMD as an undergraduate prior to the current semester.

SAT 25th and 75th percentiles: The lower and upper boundary of the middle 50% of combined (verbal and math) SAT scores earned by the cohort of new first-time students. The 75th percentile represents the score at which 75 percent of the group scored at or below. The 25th percentile represents the score at which 25 percent of the group scored at or below.

SAT Midpoint: The SAT midpoint value is calculated by adding the average of the 25th percentile scores for critical reading and math to the average of the 75th percentile scores for critical reading and math. The 75th percentile represents the score at which 75 percent of the group scored at or below. The 25th percentile represents the score at which 25 percent of the group scored at or below.

Senior: An undergraduate student who has accumulated at least 90 credits, including credits transferred to UMD.

SOC code: In the fall of 2012, the University transitioned to tracking all employees by Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code. This is now standard practice among employers and has replaced, or is currently replacing, other methods of tracking employees. View more information on Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Reporting.

Sophomore: An undergraduate student who has accumulated between 30 and 59 credits, including credits transferred to UMD.

Student Credit Hour: A unit of measure that represents one student engaged in an activity for which one credit hour for a degree or other certificate is granted upon the successful completion of the related course.

Unduplicated Count of Majors: Reports unduplicate the count of majors at the unit level (department, college, university).

Unduplicated Headcount: Enrollment is based on the student's first-choice (primary) major. Each student is counted in only one academic unit.




Race/Ethnicity Information

As an institution that receives federal funds (financial aid, research grants, etc.), the University is required to report summary demographic data on its students and employees to the federal government. The federal government has revised requirements for collecting data on race and ethnicity to allow individuals to select more than one category of racial identification.

On the undergraduate application, there is a preliminary question on Hispanic origin, and a second follow-up question on racial identities. Definitions are provided (see below), and applicants are encouraged to answer both.

Are you of Hispanic or Latino origin?

  • Yes / No

What is your race?
Select one or more of the following categories:

  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Asian
  • Black or African-American
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
  • White

Please note that, while the federal government and the University have given individuals more options regarding how they identify, federal reporting requirements mandate that individuals be placed in only one reporting category.

  • If you identified as Hispanic, you will (for the purposes of federal reporting) be counted as such, regardless of what other racial categories you select.
    Example: If an American student answers that she is Hispanic, and then selects African-American and white identities, she will be counted as Hispanic. She will not be counted as African-American, nor will she be counted as white.
  • If you did not identify as Hispanic and selected only one racial identity, you will be placed in the racial category you selected.
    Example: If an American student answers that she is not Hispanic in the first question, and, in the second question, states that she is white, she will be counted as white.
  • If you did not identify as Hispanic but selected more than one racial identity, you will (for the purposes of federal reporting) be placed in a category called "two or more races." You will not be counted among the racial categories with which you identified.
    Example: If an American student answers that she is not Hispanic, and then selects African-American and white identities, she will not be counted as African-American, nor will she be counted as white. The student, instead, will be counted in a federal category called "two or more races."
  • Regardless of the foregoing, if you are not a U.S. citizen or a Permanent Resident you will still be counted as foreign.
  • Hispanic or Latino: A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.
  • American Indian or Alaska Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community attachment.
  • 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.
  • Black or African American: A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.
  • White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.



Standard Occupational Classification Reporting

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is a set of interrelated surveys designed to collect institution-level data in such areas as enrollments, program completions, faculty, staff, and finances from all primary providers of postsecondary education. The University of Maryland complies with federal reporting policies for all of these surveys; each collection item has specific reporting guidelines established so that the federal government, consumers, and other constituents are able to compare institutions in a fair manner.

The IPEDS Human Resource (HR) survey, which includes faculty and staff job categorizations, underwent major revisions in the fall of 2012. The IPEDS survey classification revisions represent a change from the previous HR data classification based on Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) categories, which had remained unchanged for the last decade. The new survey classifications reflect the requirements of the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system from the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. SOC codes were developed to classify workers according to detailed occupational definitions which reflect changes in the workforce over the last decade and a comprehensive effort to conduct better data analysis across all federal government departments. These categories facilitate collecting, calculating, and disseminating data about workers across all the sectors of industry. There are nineteen total job categories, seventeen of which are applicable to our campus.

It is important to note that the previous employment categories for HR reporting are inherently different than the current SOC system. Previously, there were nine possible EEO categories for employees that were assigned by the University System of Maryland (USM) based on a variety of elements including title, job description, Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) status, and responsibilities of the job. Under the nineteen new IPEDS categories, SOC codes were assigned by the USM essentially with the same logic but with more detail due to the increase in job categories. As a result, comparisons can create a one-to-many relationship (e.g., one EEO category maps to more than one of the new IPEDS categories). Therefore comparisons should not be made of those data from before and after the changeover to SOC assignment.

View SOC Employee Summary on Campus Counts

For more information about SOC codes, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics site: http://www.bls.gov/SOC/

For further explanation on how SOC codes are being used by IPEDS, visit: https://surveys.nces.ed.gov/IPEDS_PY/VisFaqView.aspx?mode=reg&id=2&show=all#813

Frequently Asked Questions

The IPEDS HR survey was changed in fall 2012 to comply with the requirement to align IPEDS HR reporting with the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. The change resulted in more possible job classifications such that attempts to compare EEO categories to IPEDS categories are inexact. Efforts to do these comparisons will result in a one-to-many relationship from EEO categories to IPEDS categories (i.e., the single EEO category ‘02’ for Faculty maps to ten IPEDS categories).
When requesting an official figure from our office, the census figures reported to the federal government will be used. This means that when asking for official counts of any employee group (i.e., faculty, staff, etc.), you will receive individuals broken down by IPEDS categories as this is how these data are being reported. We encourage all our campus constituents to kindly use these figures as official statistics to remain consistent with our federal census numbers.