Fall Classes: The majority of fall 2020 classes will be offered online/remote. Learn more about the fall 2020 semester.

Dictionary of Terms Commonly Used in Reporting Data at CCA

The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness (IR) at the Community College of Aurora (CCA) routinely publishes reports and data presentations about CCA and the students, faculty, and staff at the college.  This dictionary is meant to help explain common terms that are specific to CCA that we use when reporting data. The dictionary was built with input from the CCA Data Advisory Committee composed of individuals from across the college. It is a living document that will be updated frequently with new terms or clarification for existing terms. The CCA Data Advisory Committee will continue to advise IR on adding terms and modifying definitions for clarity and understanding.



A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 




Academic Advising: A process in which Pathways Advisors (advisors) guide students through enrollment and provide additional educational information in order to guide and empower them in developing, implementing, and completing academic plans that further their career and life goals, to include transferring to a college or university. See also “Pathways Academic Advising.”


Academic Course Maps: The specific order of courses a student needs to take each semester to finish a degree. At CCA, there are two-, three-, and four-year academic course maps.


Academic Period: Time period containing one academic semester of Summer, Fall, or Spring.


Academic Year: Time period containing three consecutive academic semesters: Summer, Fall, and Spring. In the Colorado Community College System (CCCS), the Academic Year starts in Summer Term (for instance, the 2014 Academic Year consists of the following terms: Summer 2013, Fall 2013, and Spring 2014). Academic Year 2014 could be expressed as AY2014 or AY14. See also “Calendar Year”, “Fiscal Year”, and “Financial Aid Year.”


Accreditation: Accreditation is the recognition that an institution maintains standards requisite for its graduates to gain admission to other reputable institutions of higher learning or to achieve credentials for professional practice. The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality.


Adjunct Instructor: Part-time instructors hired to teach specific courses on a temporary, as needed basis with no guarantee of continued employment from semester to semester.


Adult Basic Education: Non-credit courses and/or programs for adults who need to improve their basic skills in reading, writing, math, or English language in order to be able to participate effectively in the community and obtain and retain a living wage job.


Adult/Family Literacy: Non-credit services/courses/programs to assist adults:

  • In becoming literate and obtaining the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and self-sufficiency;
  • who are parents to obtain the educational skills necessary to become full partners in the educational development of their children;
  • to participate in interactive literacy activities with their children; and/or
  • in the completion of a high school equivalency and/or improvement of English language skills 


Annualized Full-Time Equivalency (AFTE) for students: See “Full-Time Equivalency.”


Apprenticeship: Preparation for a skilled trade or occupation through a structured, systematic program of supervised on-the job training, along with related technical instruction.


Articulation: The process of mutually agreeing upon courses, degrees, and programs that are designed to provide students with a non-duplicative sequence of progressive achievement that is linked through transfer agreements between two institutions. 


Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes: The systematic collection, review, and use of information about instructional and administrative programs undertaken for the purpose of improving student learning and development.





Banner: Banner is a comprehensive computer information system, also known as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software designed specifically for higher education institutions. Users input data directly into Banner through transactions such as registering students or assigning grades. It contains information on courses, students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Components of the Banner system include student, financial aid, finance, human resources, and alumni.


Benchmark: A standard or point of reference against which gathered data may be compared or assessed.


Budget Year: See “Fiscal Year.”






Calendar Year: Time period commencing on the first day of January and ending on the last day of December. 


Career Guidance: Provides access to information regarding career awareness and planning with respect to a student’s occupational and academic future that involves guidance and counseling with respect to career options, financial aid, and postsecondary options including baccalaureate programs.


Career/Technical Education (CTE): The organized educational activities that offer a sequence of courses that include academic and technical knowledge and skills needed for current employment, requiring less than a baccalaureate degree, or for further education. Instruction includes competency-based applied learning, higher order reasoning and problem solving skills, work attitudes, general employability skills, knowledge of all aspects of an industry, and entrepreneurship. 


Colorado Community College System (CCCS): CCCS consists of 13 community colleges across the state of Colorado, including CCA. CCCS was created by the Community College and Occupational Act of 1967 in order to change community college and vocational program oversight from the local level to the state. The State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE) is the governing body for CCCS.

For more information on CCCS, please visit the CCCS webpage.


Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE): CCHE was established by the Colorado legislature in 1965 to oversee higher education in Colorado. CCHE has responsibilities that include but are not limited to the following: review and approve degree programs; establish the distribution formula for higher education funding; approve institutional capital construction requests; determine institutional roles and missions; and establish statewide enrollment policies and admissions standards. 


Colorado Department of Education (CDE): CDE is the principal department of the Colorado State Government that is responsible for education.  

For more information, please visit the CDE webpage.


Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE): CDHE is the principal department of the Colorado State Government responsible for implementing the policies of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE), which oversees higher education in Colorado.

For more information about CDHE, please visit the CDHE webpage.


Census Date for Official Reporting in Institutional Research Reports: An official reporting date for institutional data that occurs five business days after the end of the drop/add period for regular 15-week semester courses. The census provides a point-in-time statistical portrait of the college’s enrollment, population, etc. IR at CCA pulls official Census Files 17 business days after the start of term; this is set by the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) Office, and represents five business days after the drop/add period for a term has ended.


Center for Workforce Development (CFWD): The department that houses the college's Adult Education program, and has a variety of programs available to help students improve their basic skills and transition to college or a career. Programs offered include High School Equivalency (GED) preparation, Community English as a Second Language, and bridge programs in healthcare, IT, and business certificate programs.


Certificate: See “Program.”


Classification of Instructional Programs (CPI): A national numerical classification and standard terminology for secondary and postsecondary programs. The National Center for Education Statistics designed the CPI code "to provide a taxonomic scheme that will support the accurate tracking, assessment, and reporting of fields of study and program completions activity." 


Cognos: Software from the company Ellucian that allows users to pull data that is stored in the Banner information system and write analytical and descriptive reports with that data.


Cohort: A group of students who share common traits and a common beginning point in an institution or program. The cohort’s enrollment and registration are tracked over time for the purposes of calculating retention and graduation rates. An example of a cohort would be all students at CCA in a Fall term who are new first-time students that have not previously enrolled in a higher education institution for college level courses.


College Opportunity Fund (COF): A stipend from the state of Colorado that reduces a student’s tuition obligation on a per-credit hour basis. Students who qualify for the in-state tuition rate (either through traditional means or various military and high school options) are eligible for the stipend. The amount of the stipend is set in the Colorado budget process and varies each year. Funds are not given directly to the student, but instead apply directly to the tuition on a student’s account. Students apply for the stipend only once, but must authorize its use each semester. Students who have used 145 hours of the stipend at any college in Colorado must appeal for additional stipend funding.


Community-Based Organization (CBO): A private non-profit organization representative of a community or significant segment of a community that may provide education, vocational education or rehabilitation, job training, or internship services and programs.


Common Data Set (CDS): A product of the Common Data Set Initiative. It is a standard set of questions used by college guidebook publishers to collect commonly requested statistics about an institution. This allows for comparison of data between institutions based on a core set of agreed upon categories.


Community College: A postsecondary educational institution traditionally offering programs of up to two years and can lead to either an undergraduate certificate or an associate degree. Community colleges can offer vocational education leading directly to an occupation, or a transfer degree leading to completion of education in a four-year college or university. Some community colleges have begun to offer other postsecondary degrees at the bachelor’s level, and one Colorado community college will have a master’s degrees. 


Community Rehabilitation Programs (Sheltered Workshops/Skill Centers): Educational courses/programs for individuals in community rehabilitation centers (sheltered workshops).


Competency Based Education (CBE): A form of personalized learning which allows students to work at their own pace, where progress is based on mastery of skills, rather than time in class. Although the course format is primarily online, instructors are available at given times throughout each week. Students who are ideal candidates for CBE are those who have previous experience or prior knowledge of course content, and who are self-motivated, have good study skills, and drive to complete and work autonomously.


Completion: Successful graduation with a degree or certificate from an approved program.


Completion Rate: The percentage of students who completed. It is calculated as the number of students reaching completion (“completers”) divided by the number of students enrolled in the program (“enrolled”), multiplied by 100. 


Concurrent Enrollment: Concurrent Enrollment, also known as Dual Enrollment, is a state-sponsored partnership between CCA and local district high school partners that provides students with the opportunity to complete college coursework while still in high school at no cost (or very minimal cost) to the student and their family. 


Consortium: An entity formed by educational agencies to undertake projects, activities, programs, and/or services for its members.


Contact Hours: The hours of a scheduled course offering when students are expected to be in attendance.


Continuing Education: Courses/programs/activities that are offered for non-credit and not focused on a college degree. 


Co-Sponsored Offerings: Courses/programs designed to serve special groups through the efforts of two or more entities.


Course: A unit of instruction that has the following:

  • a formalized syllabus;
  • a description;
  • a condensed outline or statement;
  • a minimum of one contact hour (50 minutes) in length;
  • an approval in accordance with board policy; and
  • an instructor of record.


Course Contact Hour: Equals 50 minutes of instructional contact per credit hour between an instructor and student in a scheduled course offering for which students are registered.


Course Number: The combination of alpha/numeric characters assigned by a college to a course. The first six positions must match common course number.


Course Outline: A detailed outline of a course including the content required, objectives, competencies or expected outcomes, expectations of students, and evaluation procedures.


Course Success: A final grade of A, B, C, or P.


Course Success Rate: Percentage of students who receive a passing/satisfactory grade in a course. It is calculated as the number of students who received a passing/satisfactory grade in a course divided by the number of students enrolled in the course, multiplied by 100.


Credit Hour: A unit of measure/recognition awarded and recognized by higher education for the completion of an activity, course, and/or program. A credit hour is referred to as 50 minutes of instruction.


Cumulative Credits Earned: Number of credits a student has earned at a particular institution.


Cumulative Grade Point Average: A student's cumulative grade point average in the program. Scale from 0.0 to 4.0.






Data Sharing Agreement: An agreement entered into by two or more institutions, to increase student access to offerings, to enhance educational offerings throughout the state, and/or to enhance inter-institutional cooperation in offerings. See also “Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).”


Declared Major: The declaration of a major by a student in a specific program, which is completed through established procedures adopted by the college. 


Degrees with Designation (DWD): A Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) approved associate of arts or associate of science degree within a specific academic discipline prearranged program path, which allows students to transfer degrees or programs and enroll as juniors at any Colorado public four-year college or university.


Developmental Education Course: A course (credit and non-credit) designed to provide assistance (remedial instruction) to an individual so they can successfully complete the regular courses in their program of study. They are not designed to be college transferable and do not count toward graduation requirements.


Disabled: The term "individual with a disability" means an individual with any disability as defined in Section 3 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.


Displaced Homemaker Status: Someone who has provided unpaid household services for family members in the home for substantial number of years; not gainfully employed; has had, or would have, difficulty finding employment; dependent on the income of a family member and has lost that income or dependent on government assistance as the parent of dependent children, but is no longer eligible for assistance, or will soon require the assistance because the minor children are within two years of reaching 18.


Distance Learning: A formal learning activity where students and instructors are separated by geography, time, or both, for the majority of the instructional period.


Department of Education (DOE): This is the branch of the federal government responsible for implementing and enforcing federal policy on education. DOE also collects data from institution and reports on national and regional trends in education.


Dual Enrollment: See “Concurrent Enrollment.”





Earned Credit Hours: The total credit hours posted to student transcript at time of reporting, including transfer, test-out, tech prep, life experience, articulation, etc.


Educational Data Warehouse (EDW): One part of the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) data warehouse which is populated with data from Banner (the other part of the data warehouse is the Operational Data Store (ODS); both Banner and the ODS are defined in this document). The EDW stores both current and historical data and can be used for creating analytical and trend reports over time. The data in the EDW is accessed using IBM Cognos, a Business Intelligence application which enable users to query EDW data and develop interactive reports. At CCA, faculty and staff are given access to certain reports or areas of the EDW by being assigned security roles related to their area of employment.


English as a Second Language (ESL) Course: Credit or non-credit English literacy courses/programs of instruction designed to help adults who have limited English proficiency. 



  1. As a headcount, enrollment is the number of students enrolled in credit courses offered by an institution. Higher education institutions in general measure enrollment by headcount and full-time equivalency (FTE). See also “Headcount” and/or “FTE.”
  2. As a course enrollment, it is the number of courses students are enrolled in. See also “Headcount.” 


Ethnicity: Category used to describe groups to which individuals belong in the eyes of the community or with which they identify. An ethnic group is a named social category of people based on perceptions of shared social experience or ancestry. The categories do not denote scientific definitions of anthropological origins. CCA only collects data on two ethnicities, Hispanic and non-Hispanic.






Faculty Instructional Load: Total number of credit hours an instructor teaches per semester.


Faculty of Color: Full-time faculty and adjunct instructors who identify within a racial or ethnic identity group that has been historically marginalized based on the color of their skin, that would include Black or African American or African heritage, Latino/a or Hispanic, Asian American or Asian descent, Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaskan Native, and or multiracial.


Fees: Incidental fees collected from students, such as lab, graduation, transcript, and other similar type services.


Financial Aid: Funding sources that help students attend postsecondary education institutions. Federal and state government, educational institutions, and private agencies provide funds in the form of scholarship, grants, work-study, and education loans.


Financial Aid Year:  In postsecondary institutions, financial aid funding is allocated on a semester or quarterly basis as dictated by the yearly academic calendar. See also “Fiscal Year” and “Academic Year.”


First-Generation Student: Undergraduates for whom neither parent earned a four-year postsecondary degree.


First-Time Student: A student attending a postsecondary institution for the first-time after graduating from high school or after obtaining a Certificate of High School Equivalency by passing the General Educational Development (GED) tests.  


Fiscal Year: A 12-month period running from July 1 through the following June 30. This is called a fiscal year as the budget for the institution follows this year.

For the purposes of data from the IR department at CCA, the Fiscal Year is the Academic Year and includes Summer, Fall, and Spring terms, even though the Summer term begins before July 1 and the Spring term ends before June 30. For instance, Fiscal Year 2014 includes Summer 2013, Fall 2013, and Spring 2014. It can be abbreviated as FY2014 or FY14. In the CCCS data system, these terms could be expressed numerically as 201410, 201420, and 201430. Summer term is denoted by the Fiscal Year followed by a 10 (201410); Fall term is denoted by the Fiscal Year followed by a 20 (201420); and Spring term is denoted by the Fiscal Year followed by a 30 (201430).


Freeze Dates: These are dates on which official data is collected to be compared against the same time period in other years. For the IR department at CCA, freeze dates are set at Colorado Community College System (CCCS) and include demographic, course, applicant, and testing data. Freeze dates include the first day of courses; census date (five business days after the end of a term’s drop/add period); and end-of-term data (one month and one week after the last day of courses). See also “Official Data.”


Full-Time Equivalency (FTE): The most common measure of enrollment, which is calculated based on the sum of credits carried by all students enrolled in classes at a particular level, divided by the number of credits in a full-time load. Annualized FTE is calculated based on a full-time load over the course of a year. Full-time status over the course of a year would equal 30 credits for students, so the calculation for annualized FTE is all credit hours divided by 30. This is the calculation used by the state of Colorado in determining funding for schools.


Full-Time Student: A student enrolled for 12 or more semester credits in a term.






Gender: Designation by the individual if they are a male or female.


General Education Courses: Credit courses designed to impart common knowledge, promote intellectual inquiry, and stimulate the examination of different perspectives. They also foster human development in civic, consumer, environmental, and social responsibilities. The number and type of general education courses in a curriculum is determined by state minimums, occupation needs, and institution standards.


Graduate: A student who has fulfilled all the requirements of a program and has earned a degree or certificate.


Graduation Rate: The percentage of students within a cohort that graduated within a set time period. For example, the IR department reports to the federal government on the percentage of first-time, full-time students at specific points of time, such as at 150 percent of time to an associate degree (this is three years, since normally a full-time student is expected to complete an associate degree within two years) and at 200 percent of time to an associate degree (four years). The calculation for the graduation rate is number of students graduating divided by the total number of students, multiplied by 100.


Guided Pathways: The whole package of academic pathways, programs, advising and other support services that get you from application to graduation.






Headcount: Total number of registered students, whether full-time or part-time. The headcount can be duplicated (students are counted more than once, such as when number of students taking courses on each campus are calculated, since a student can be taking courses on more than one campus) or unduplicated (students are only counted once, such as when all students enrolled in a term are counted).


Highest Educational Achievement/Award: The highest educational degree/certificate attained by a person, with degrees. Listed here in descending order from highest degree to lowest possible degree (this list includes some of the most common degrees at CCA): Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.), Doctorate Educational Specialist (EDs), Master’s degree (M.A., M.S., M.Ed.), Bachelor’s degree (B.A., B.S., B.F.A.), Associate Degree (A.A., A.S., A.A.S.), Postsecondary Certificate, High School Diploma.


Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI): An institution of higher education that

  • is an eligible institution, AND
  • has an enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent (FTE) students that is at least 25 percent Hispanic students at the end of the award year immediately preceding the date of application.






Independent Study: Instruction in which the student works one-on-one with the instructor. The course delivery may be individually tailored to accommodate the student’s needs. Course(s) must be of an approved course of study and listed in the college catalogue. 


Instructional Methods: The types of instructional methods/experiences used to deliver curriculum content. At CCA, traditional, online, hybrid or self-paced instructional methods are offered.


Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS): The core postsecondary education data collection system for the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). It is a system of interrelated surveys conducted annually by NCES. Provides basic data needed to describe—and analyze trends in—postsecondary education in the United States in terms of numbers of students enrolled, staff employed, dollars expended, and degrees earned. IPEDS gathers information from every college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs.






Level of Institution: A classification of whether a postsecondary institution’s highest level of offering is a program of four years or higher (four-year), two but less than four years (two-year), or less than two years. 


Licensure: The legal granting of authority by a government agency such as the state to practice a profession (such as teaching or healthcare). Licensure prohibits anyone without a license from practicing the profession.






Mainstreaming: The placement of students, who are members of special populations and those who may need additional support services in order to be successful, in regular educational programs or courses.


Major: The program identifier that describes a student’s concentration of courses and/or declared program completion goal.


Management Information System (MIS): A system designed for reporting enrollment, human resources and financial data from the community college.


Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): A non-binding agreement between two or more parties outlining the terms and details of an understanding, including each party's requirements and responsibilities. An MOU is often the first stage in the formation of a formal contract. See also “Data Sharing Agreement.”


Minority: The legal definition of minority is American Indian, Alaskan Native, Black (not of Hispanic origin), Hispanic (including persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Central or South American origin), Pacific Islander or other underrepresented ethnic groups. It is important to note that this term describes groups rather than individuals. At CCA, the preferred terms for describing individuals who identify as being members of any of the aforementioned ethnic groups are Student of Color and Staff of Color. 


Minority Serving Institution (MSI): An institution that serves at least 25 percent of a specific minority group of undergraduates, based on enrollment or whose enrollment of a single minority or a combination of minorities exceeds 50 percent of total enrollment.






National Center for Education Statistics (NCES): The statistical branch of the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, a principal operating component of the United States Department of Education.


Non-Credit Course: A educational course offered to students that does not award credit towards completion of a certificate or a degree. Non-credit courses usually cannot be transferred for credit to other educational institutions. Often non-credit courses are offered as part of the continuing education programs of an institution, and are intended to help students gain knowledge and build skills.


Non-Traditional Student: Students who are mostly defined by age and are over 25 years old. Extensive definition by National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) (2002) also includes these student populations: they delay enrollment, attend part time, work full-time while enrolled, are financially independent, have dependents, are a single parent, and/or have no GED.






Official Data Files: Specific data files which are pulled from Banner or Cognos on agreed upon dates according to Colorado Community College System (CCCS) standards. These files include Course Data, Student Demographics, Applicant Demographics, and Accuplacer Scores. This data is pulled on three dates: First Day Data represents data as of 5 p.m. on the last business day preceding the first day of classes; Census Data is pulled 17 business days after the first day of classes, which represents 5 business days past the drop/add date for a term; and End of Term Data is pulled one month and one week after the final day of courses for a term.


Online Course: A method of distance learning where the entire content of a course is delivered online (web-based/internet/etc.).


Open Enrollment: All individuals, regardless of their previous education, level of achievement, etc., can enroll.


Operational Data Store (ODS): One part of the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) data warehouse which is populated with data from Banner (the other part of the data warehouse is the Educational Data Warehouse (EDW); both Banner and the EDW are defined earlier in this document). The Operational Data Store (ODS) is refreshed with new data from Banner nightly, and the data is used for reporting with current operational data. The data flows only one way-from Banner to the ODS. The data in the ODS is accessed using IBM Cognos, a Business Intelligence application which enable users to query ODS data and develop interactive reports. At CCA, faculty and staff are given access to certain reports or areas of the ODS by being assigned security roles related to their area of employment.






Part-Time Student: A student enrolled for fewer than 12 credits per term in Fall or Spring, or enrolled for seven or fewer credits per term in Summer.


Pathways Academic Advising: See “Academic Advising.”


Pell Grant (PELL): A federally funded need-based grant that is awarded to and designed for undergraduate students. Eligibility is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The amount of the grant is determined by a federal funding formula, the cost of attendance, and the enrollment status of students. Rules regulating eligibility are set at the national level and apply to students no matter where they attend school.


Pell Grant Recipient: An individual who is enrolled in an undergraduate program of study who has not earned a bachelor’s degree or professional degree and has been awarded a non-repayable Federal Pell Grant.


Perkins Fund Allocation: The amount of Perkins funds allocated to each community college based on Federal criteria.


Perkins Fund: A principal source of federal funding to states and discretionary grantees for the improvement of secondary and postsecondary career and technical education programs across the nation. The purpose is to develop more fully the academic, career, and technical skills of secondary and postsecondary students who elect to enroll in career and technical education programs.


Persistence: A measure of endurance by students in their continued pursuit of studies (such as persisting from term to term) towards the completion of an educational goal or training objective.  Persistence is a student’s continuation behavior leading to a desired goal, which differs from retention, which is an institution’s rate at which they keep students from one term or year to the next.


Persistence Rate: The percentage of students who enroll in a semester and complete the semester.


Professional Development: Activities, courses, and programs to upgrade or further develop the skills of persons presently employed.


Previous Education Attendance: Indicates if the student has attended another postsecondary institution before enrolling in the current institution.


Program: A coherent sequence of courses designed to prepare individuals for employment or further education in a specific occupational area. A certificate program is a program requiring less than 60 credit hours (usually less than 45 credit hours) and a degree program requires 60 or more college-level credit hours. A degree program can be designed for either employment or transfer. Certificate programs lead to employment or are “stepping stones” towards a degree program which allows students to complete a certificate while completing a degree.






Race: A category used to describe groups to which individuals belong in the eyes of the community or with which they identify. Members of a racial group share similar perceived physical characteristics or origins. The categories do not denote scientific definitions of anthropological origins. Depending on the reporting and analysis requirements of the data, participants may be counted only in one race, or may be counted across racial categories. CCA is updating files to reflect racial categories as defined and used in reporting data to the federal Department of Education (DOE) through the Integrated Postsecondary Educational Data System (IPEDS).


Recertification/Relicensure: Credit and non-credit offerings designed for individuals employed that are required to be recertified or relicensed.


Reciprocity Agreement: Recognition by one institution of the validity of licenses or privileges granted by another institution.


Registration: A process of enrolling students for courses or programs.


Residency: Used to identify the residency status of a student at the date of registration for tuition purposes.


Retention: A measure of academic progress of a cohort from one term or year to the next. Retention rate is expressed as a percentage of the students who return each term or year. Retention refers to an institution’s ability to keep students, which differs from persistence, which looks at student behavior in continuing toward a desired goal.






Scheduling by Degree: The process of registering students for classes that fit specifically within a degree program based on an academic course map.


Self-Paced Instruction: Courses or programs that allow students to progress at their own rate of speed and enter at variable times.


Sexual Orientation: Sexual orientation is the label applied based off of sexual attraction, expression, and/or behavior. It is in reference to the sex of the individual to whom one is sexually, romantically, and/or emotionally attracted. Many identities have been given a label to categorize the orientation, such as attraction to the same sex (gay men or lesbians), attraction to the other sex (straight people), and attraction to both sexes (bisexuals) (American Psychological Association [APA], 2017). Additional identities of sexual orientation include pansexual, queer, or omnisexual which typically vary in meaning but often define sexual orientation without adhering to the gender or sex binary of "male" and "female" only (APA, 2017). Some people also identify as asexual which is typically associated with a lack of desire for sexual intimacy, but may vary and also include a desire for romantic intimacy. Sexual orientation is varied and defined best using a continuum framework.  

Reference: American Psychological Association. (2017). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender. 


Single Parent Status: Individual who is unmarried or legally separated and has custody or joint custody of one or more minor children.


Staff of Color: Administrative professional technical (exempt) and classified employees who identify within a racial or ethnic identity group that has been historically marginalized based on the color of their skin, that would include Black or African American or African heritage, Latino/a or Hispanic, Asian American or Asian descent, Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaskan Native, and or multiracial. 


Student of Color: Students who identify within a racial or ethnic identity group that has been historically marginalized based on the color of their skin, that would include Black or African American or African heritage, Latino/a or Hispanic, Asian American or Asian descent, Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaskan Native, and or multiracial. 


Student Engagement: Action occurring when “students make a psychological investment in learning.”


Student Number (S-Number): Consecutive numbering that allows students to be identified using numbering system that is not associated with any student identifiable data like social security number (SSN) or state/college student ID.


Student-to-Faculty-Ratio: The ratio of full-time equivalent students (student credit hours divided by 30) to full-time equivalent faculty during a semester. This ratio is calculated by dividing the full-time equivalent student workload by the full-time equivalent faculty.


State Unit Record Data System (SURDS): SURDS is a system that the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) uses to collect data from institutions.






Transfer: A student entering an institution for the first time but known to have previously attended a postsecondary institution at the same level (e.g. undergraduate). The student may transfer with or without credit. An institution may have both transfer-in and transfer-out students. For instance, CCA may have a transfer-in student that comes to CCA after attending a different community or four-year college. CCA also has many students that transfer out to other community or four-year colleges after attending CCA.


Trend: A report that presents comparative information about enrollment and student characteristics, faculty and staff, etc. over a period of time. Most trend reports at CCA have at least three years of data, and often have five to ten years of data.


Tuition: The charges established by a community college for student enrollment in programs, courses, or individualized learning situations. The tuition rate varies according to residency status of the students.






Unduplicated Headcount: A student is counted only once during a term or an academic year regardless of how many classes or terms the student attends during that period.






Veteran Student: A student who is a former member of the Armed Forces of the United States (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard) who served on active duty and was discharged.





Waiver: A document or process that allows students to be exempt from certain degree, program, or institution requirements. Students who receive a waiver must meet the requirements specific to the waiver.


Dictionary of Terms Commonly Used in Reporting Data at CCA (Printable PDF)

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