Glossary of TermsA
Academic Program - A program of study, usually involving knowledge and research, and usually leading to a certificate, associate, bachelor's, masters or doctorate degree.
Academic Year - Consecutive fall and spring semesters. For example: AY 12-13 refers to the interval from Fall 2012 to Spring 2013.
Acceptance Rate - The percent of applicants who were accepted.
Accepted - Admitted by the institution.
Accreditation - Accreditation is a voluntary process of higher education oversight that serves to assure the public of the institution’s quality and to promote continuous institutional improvement. In Massachusetts, the organization that oversees the accreditation process is the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. An institution that has gone through the accreditation process is called an accredited institution.
Admitted - Applicant who is offered admission to a degree-granting program.
Advanced placement courses (AP) - College-level courses taught in high school. Students may take an examination at the completion of the course; some colleges accept certain scores as college credit or advanced standing.
ALANA - An acronym referring to Africans, Latinos, Asians, and Native Americans.
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 recognition.
Applicant (first-time, first year) - An individual who has fulfilled the institution’s requirements to be considered for admission (including payment or waiving of the application fee, if any) and who has been notified of one of the following actions: admission, nonadmission, placement on waiting list, or application withdrawn (by applicant or institution).
Application fee - The amount of money that an institution charges for processing a student’s application for acceptance. This amount is not creditable toward tuition and required fees, nor is it refundable if the student is not admitted to the institution.
Asian (new definition) - 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.
Asian or Pacific Islander (old definition) - A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, or Pacific Islands. This includes people from China, Japan, Korea, the Philippine Islands, American Samoa, India, and Vietnam.
Associate degree - An award that normally requires at least two but less than four years of full-time equivalent college work.Top
Bachelor’s degree - An award (baccalaureate or equivalent degree, as determined by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education) that normally requires at least four years but not more than five years of full-time equivalent college-level work. Also, it includes bachelor’s degrees in which the normal four years of work are completed in three years.
Black, non-Hispanic - A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa (except those of Hispanic origin).
Books and supplies (costs) - Average cost of books and supplies.Top
Census Date - Date on which official enrollment data are extracted from the student information system. This generally occurs in the fourth week of the semester.
Certificate - Recognition of successful completion of a program of study; certificate programs vary in length.
Class - Alumni who graduated in an academic year (between September 1 in one year and August 31 in the next year). For example, a student graduating between September 1, 2011 and August 31, 2012 belongs to the class of ‘12.
Class rank - The relative numerical position of a student in his or her graduating class, calculated by the high school on the basis of grade-point average, whether weighted or unweighted.
Classification of Intructional Program (CIP) Code - A six-digit code in the form xx.xxxx that identifies program specialties within educational institutions.
Cohort - All students who entered UMass Amherst during the academic year (summer, fall or spring term of a given academic year).
Cohort Exclusion - Those persons who may be removed from a cohort (or subcohort). For graduation and retention rate reporting, persons may be removed from a cohort if they left the institutions for one of the following reasons: death or total and permanent disability; service in the armed forces (including those called to active duty); service with a foreign aid service of the federal government, such as the Peace Corps; or service on official church missions.
Commuter - A student who lives off campus in housing that is not owned by, operated by, or affiliated with the college. This category includes students who commute from home and students who have moved to the area to attend college.
Continuing and Professional Education - Non-state supported undergraduate and graduate programs administered through CPE.
Credit - Recognition of attendance or performance in an instructional activity (course or program) that can be applied by a recipient toward the requirements for a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award.
Credit hour - A unit of measure representing an hour (50 minutes) of instruction over a 15-week period in a semester or trimester system or a 10-week period in a quarter system. It is applied toward the total number of hours needed for completing the requirements of a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award.
Cumulative GPA - The grade point average calculated on all work completed at the institution.Top
Degree - An award conferred by a college, university, or other postsecondary education institution as official recognition for the successful completion of a program of studies.
Degree-seeking student - Student enrolled in courses for credit who is recognized by the institution as seeking a degree or formal award. At the undergraduate level, this is intended to include students enrolled in vocational or occupational programs.
Doctor’s degree-research/scholarship - A Ph.D. or other doctor's degree that requires advanced work beyond the master’s level, including the preparation and defense of a dissertation based on original research, or the planning and execution of an original project demonstrating substantial artistic or scholarly achievement.
Doctor’s degree-professional practice - A doctor’s degree that is conferred upon completion of a program providing the knowledge and skills for the recognition, credential, or license required for professional practice. The degree is awarded after a period of study such that the total time to the degree, including both pre-professional and professional preparation, equals at least six full-time equivalent academic years.
Double major - Students pursuing a double major fulfill the course requirements for both majors, and graduate with a minimum of 120 credits total. Certain requirements, such as junior year writing, must be completed in the primary major. Students with double majors should meet with the academic advisors in both departments to find out the extent to which courses required by one major can be used to satisfy the requirements of the other major. At graduation a double major earns a single degree in the primary major, but both the primary and secondary major are recorded on the transcript.
Double degree - Students wishing to earn two degrees, each in a different major, must complete all of the major and college requirements for both degrees, and also must complete at least 30 additional units for a minimum of 150 credits. Requirements must be completed within ten semesters, unless the Academic Dean grants an extension. If a double degree candidate fails to complete the requirements for one of the two degrees, the student will NOT be allowed to graduate with only one degree.Top
Early action plan - An admission plan that allows students to apply and be notified of an admission decision well in advance of the regular notification dates. If admitted, the candidate is not committed to enroll; the student may reply to the offer under the college’s regular reply policy.
Enrolled - Registered at time of semester census date.
Exchange student program-domestic - Any arrangement between a student and a college that permits study for a semester or more at another college in the United States without extending the amount of time required for a degree.Top
FAFSA - The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the form used by the U.S. Department of Education and most all colleges and universities to determine eligibility for federal, state, and college-sponsored financial aid.
Financial aid - Grants, loans, assistantships, scholarships, fellowships, tuition waivers, tuition discounts, veteran's benefits, employer aid (tuition reimbursement) and other monies (other than from relatives/friends) provided to students to meet expenses.
First-Time First-Year - Students attending any college for the first time, including those with Advanced Placement credit and those who have earned college credits prior to high school graduation and/or during summer session between high school and college matriculation.
First-Year - An enrolled student with 0 - 26 accumulated credit hours.
Fiscal Year - Funding year that includes July 1 through June 30. For example: FY 2013 refers to the fiscal year from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013.
Five College certificate - Under the guidance of faculty advisers on each campus, students choose a progressive series of courses available within the five campuses, in academic off-campus programs, and other approved semester-away programs.
Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Enrollment - Full-time equivalent enrollment is based on the following formula: Undergraduate FTE=semester credit hours/15; Graduate FTE=semester credit hours/9.
FTE Instructed Students (FTEIS) - Credits are divided by a full-time load to calculate full-time equivalency. For undergraduate courses, 1 FTE = 15 credit hours and for graduate courses, 1 FTE = 9 credit hours. For courses numbered 500-599, FTE depends on the level of the student: if undergraduate student, divide by 15; if graduate student, divide by 9. If multiple instructors are assigned to a course section, FTEIS are distributed proportionately to the instructors of record.
Full-Time Equivalent Faculty - Each full-time faculty member is counted as one FTE; however, adjustments are made for alternative responsibilities. For part-time faculty, FTE faculty = (total credit hours)/15.
Full-Time Faculty/Staff - Faculty/staff employed 100% time; faculty on annual sabbatical leave not included.
Full-Time Student - Undergraduates: Students registered for 12 or more credit hours at the census date; Graduate Students: Students registered for 9 or more credit hours at the census date.Top
General education courses - Courses designed to introduce students to the fundamental knowledge, skills and values essential to the study of academic disciplines; in some instances any prerequisite or supporting course requirements for the major can be taken and counted as general education requirements.
Grade-point average (academic high school GPA) - The sum of grade points a student has earned in secondary school divided by the number of courses taken. The most common system of assigning numbers to grades counts four points for an A, three points for a B, two points for a C, one point for a D, and no points for an E or F. Unweighted GPA’s assign the same weight to each course. Weighting gives students additional points for their grades in advanced or honors courses.
Graduate student - A student who holds a bachelor’s or equivalent, and is taking courses at the postbaccalaureate level.
Graduate Division - Courses numbered 500 and above.Top
Headcount Student Majors -The actual count of individual students who have selected a given major or pre-major. Every student is assigned a “major”, even though it may be only an administrative classification (e.g., “non-degree” or “undeclared”).
High school rank - The relative numerical position of a student in his or her graduating class, calculated by the high school on the basis of grade-point average, whether weighted or unweighted. A percentile scale with zero representing the top of a class and 99 the bottom.
Hispanic - A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.Top
Independent study - Academic work chosen or designed by the student with the approval of the department concerned, under an instructor’s supervision, and usually undertaken outside of the regular classroom structure.
In-state tuition - The tuition charged by institutions to those students who meet the state’s or institution’s residency requirements.
Instructional Faculty - Faculty whose primary responsibility is instruction; includes department heads and faculty who are on sabbatical or have release time for research; excludes faculty on leave without pay.
International Student - A person who is not a citizen or national of the United States and who is in this country on a visa or temporary basis and does not have the right to remain indefinitely. Non-resident alien.Top
Junior - An enrolled student with 57 - 86 accumulated credit hours.Top
Lower Division - Courses numbered 000 to 299.Top
MassTransfer - An articulation agreement for students graduating from Massachusetts public community colleges. Students graduating with a 2.5 or higher GPA in designated programs are guaranteed admission to specified colleges within the university.
Master's degree - An award that requires the successful completion of a program of study of generally one or two full-time equivalent academic years of work beyond the bachelor's degree.
Matriculated - Enrolled in a degree program.
Minor - A program of at least 15 credits in a coherent set of courses in a particular discipline, department or program designed for students to attain some competence in a second area of study without fulfilling the full range or requirements of the major.Top
Need-Based Financial Aid - Aid in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and student employment awarded to students on the basis of demonstrated financial need.
Non-Matriculated - Not enrolled in a degree program.
Non-Need Based Financial Aid - Aid in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and student employment not based on demonstrated financial need.
New England Regional Student Program (NERSP) - A program enabling students from other New England states enrolled at UMass Amherst to pay reduced tuition and fees if they choose a qualified major not offered in their home state.
Non-Resident - A student paying out-of-state tuition.Top
Out-of-state tuition - The tuition charged by institutions to those students who do not meet the institution’s or state’s residency requirements.Top
Part-Time Student - Undergraduates: Students registered for fewer than 12 credit hours at the census date; Graduate Students: Students registered for fewer than 9 credit hours at the census date.
Prerequisite - A course students must complete before taking a more advanced course in the discipline.
Primary Major - The actual count of undergraduate students whose primary major is in a school/college.
Program Fee (PF) - Matriculating graduate students assigned three credits while on Program Fee (no course).
Race/ethnicity - Category 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. A person may be counted in only one group.
Receiving institution - The institution to which the student is transferring.
Required fees - Fixed sum charged to students for items not covered by tuition and required of such a large proportion of all students that the student who does not pay is the exception. It does not include application fees or optional fees such as lab fees or parking fees.
Requirement - A course students must take in order to complete a major or degree.
Residency - Either in-state or out-of-state, determined for tuition purposes.
Resident - A student paying in-state tuition.
Retention Rate - The percentage of students enrolled from fall semester to fall semester.Top
SAT Score - Scholastic Aptitude Test score.
Secondary Major - The actual count of undergraduate students whose secondary or tertiary declared major is in a school/college.
Sending institution - The institution from which the student is transferring.
Senior - An enrolled student with at least 87 accumulated credit hours.
Sophomore - An enrolled student with 26 - 56 accumulated credit hours.
Student Credit Hour (SCH) - The sum of credits attempted by students enrolled in a course as of the census date.
Student Majors - A student with a declared major within the school or college. At the undergraduate level, data reported represent a duplicated count of student majors (primary and secondary majors). FTE student majors are distributed proportionally across major programs.
Student/Faculty Ratio - The ratio of student FTE to faculty FTE.
Staff - Non-faculty appointments including executive, professional secretarial/clerical positions, technical/paraprofessional positions, skilled crafts, and service maintenance positions.
Student Level - An indication of a student’s progress toward a degree: first-year, sophomore, junior, senior, unclassified.Top
Transfer - Consists of the granting of credit (transfer credit) toward a credential by one institution, for programs or courses completed at another.
Transfer Student - A student who earned 12 or more credits at another higher education institution prior to enrolling at UMass Amherst.
Tuition - Amount of money charged to students for instructional services. Tuition may be charged per term, per course, or per credit.Top
Unclassified - A non-degree seeking student who cannot be classified into a student level because he or she is not pursuing a degree.
Undeclared - A student who has not specified a major program.
Undergraduate - A student enrolled in a four- or five-year bachelor’s degree program, an associate degree program, or a vocational or technical program below the baccalaureate.
Upper Division - Courses numbered 300-499.
URM - An acronym referring to under-represented minority, at UMass Amherst this means the American Indian, Alaska Native, Black or African American, Hispanic and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander population.Top
Yield - The percent of accepted students who enrolled.