Analytic Studies

Frequently Asked Questions


Contents:

FAQ about Graduation Rates

The questions we receive about graduation rates are so numerous that we have prepared a full document on the topic. It is entitled: A Primer for Understanding Graduation Rates at The California State University. The document answers questions about how graduation rates (plus related rates) are computed and it explains why the Chancellor's Office generates more than one graduation-rate definition to describe bachelor's degree attainment at the CSU. It also describes how time-to-degree is measured. And it provides a brief trend analysis of the CSU System regarding the proportion of new CSU undergraduates that eventually attained degrees and how long it took them to complete their academic programs.

FAQ about Applications

This section answers questions about how applications are categorized and monitored through the admissions process.

FAQ about Campus Calendars

This section describes the semester calendar, quarter calendar, and the "4-1-4" calendar.

FAQ about Student Enrollments

This section answers questions about headcount enrollments during the college year, part-time and full-time enrollment status, and full-time equivalent enrollments during the college year.

FAQ about Student Level

This section answers questions about how undergraduates are defined by class level and explains the difference between post-baccalaureate students and graduate students.

FAQ about regular and special admissions for undergraduates

This section answer questions about the two separate criteria for being admitted to the CSU as a new first-time freshman or new undergraduate transfer student.

FAQ about Ethnic and Racial Self-Identification

This section explains the ethnic and racial classification system that is used to describe CSU students.

FAQ about Majors, Degrees, and Credentials

This section answers questions about how enrollments and degrees are sorted by major and class level. It also answers questions about the status of post-baccalaureate students seeking teaching credentials.

FAQ about Proficiency Reports and Academic Performance Reports

This section answers questions about what content is distinct and what content is shared in the Proficiency Reports and Academic Performance Reports.

Frequently Asked Questions:

FAQ about Graduation Rates

 

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FAQ about Applications

  • What is the difference between an accommodated and unaccommodated application?
  • An accommodated application is one that is accepted for admission evaluation because it was properly submitted within the application-filing period. An unaccommodated application was not accepted for evaluation (usually due to incorrect filing, such as an application not accompanied by fee payment or submitted after the application filing period). This type of applicant is not classified as denied.

  • What is an incomplete application?

    An accommodated application that does not contain complete admission file information is labeled as incomplete. For example, an application that is not accompanied by a high school transcript is considered to be incomplete.

  • What constitutes a denied applicant?

    The overwhelming majority of denied applications represent students who were deemed ineligible for admission; that is, they did not meet the CSU admission requirements. A small number of denied represent applicants that were CSU eligible. Those applicants were turned away because they applied to impacted programs that had restricted numbers of admission slots. A denied-eligible applicant may or may not have been redirected to another CSU campus for admission.

  • Does the total count of applications represent a unique number of applicants?

    No. The total count of applications received represent single applications from some applicants and multiple applications filed at more than one CSU campus for the remaining applicants.

  • What is the unduplicated application count?

    This count is derived by counting multiple applications from individuals to CSU campuses within a given term only once. When an applicant is admitted to one campus and not to another, the applicant record at the campus of admission takes precedence.

  • What is a redirected application?

    A redirected application is one that was forwarded to another CSU campus either with or without evaluation.

     

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    FAQ about Campus Calendars

  • How many calendars do the various CSU campuses follow?

    There are three basic calendars that describe CSU campuses:

    (1) The semester calendar represents campuses that offer courses during fall and spring, with each term defined as 15 weeks of instruction.

    (2) The quarter calendar represents campuses that offer courses during summer, fall, winter, and spring; here each term is defined as 10 weeks of instruction.

    (3) The "4-1-4" calendar, employed only at Stanislaus, represents a campus that offers courses in fall, winter, and spring; the fall and spring terms are each defined as 13 weeks of instruction, and the winter term is defined as 4 weeks of instruction.

  • What terms make up the college year?

    The summer, fall, winter, spring terms define the college year. For campuses that do not offer a summer term, the academic year calendar and the college year calendar represent the same time interval: fall through spring.

  • What terms make up the academic year?

    The fall, winter, and spring terms define the academic year. Thus academic year enrollments represent averages for the number of student enrolled during any of the three specified terms. Thus academic year enrollments for semester campuses equal the addition of the two term enrollments divided by two. Academic year enrollments for quarter campuses equal the addition of the three term enrollments divided by three. Academic year enrollments for the "4-1-4" campus represent a weighted average for the number of student enrolled during any of the three specified terms. The weights for fall and spring are 26; the weight for winter is 4.

  • What are annualized summer enrollments?

    An annualized summer enrollment is a statistical average that has the following property: an annualized summer enrollment plus an academic year enrollment equal the college year enrollment. It is computed by dividing the observed summer enrollment by the number of terms that a campus has during the academic year.

     

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    FAQ about Student Enrollments

  • Who is included in headcount enrollments?

    Headcount enrollments represent the number of students actively enrolled at a campus for a specified census date. The census date is the close of the third week of instruction for campuses on a quarter calendar and the fourth week of instruction for campuses on a semester calendar. This definition applies to all terms that comprise the college year.

  • What is full-time equivalent student enrollment?

    The number of full-time equivalent students (FTES) for a term is derived by dividing total semester or quarter student credit hours attempted at a campus by 15. Annual full-time equivalent students are derived by either dividing total semester student credit hours for the academic year by 30 or total quarter student credit hours by 45. Summer Arts FTES are calculated by dividing total student credit units by 30. 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.

  • What is the difference between regular and limited student enrollments?

    Here, the terms regular and limited refer essentially to student fee categories. Regular students are those individuals who attempt 6.1 student credit units or more during a term. Limited students are those individuals who attempt six or fewer student credit units. Because of the relatively small workload being attempted, limited students are charged reduced student fees.

     

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    FAQ about Student Level

  • How do you categorize undergraduate students by class level?

    Campuses typically determine class level for undergraduate by the number of accumulated semester or quarter credit hours as follows:

    Class LevelSemester HoursQuarter Hours
    FreshmanFewer than 30Fewer than 45
    Sophomore30 to fewer than 6045 to fewer than 90
    Junior60 to fewer than 9090 to fewer than 135
    Senior90 or more135 or more

  • What is a postbaccalaureate student?

    A postbaccalaureate student holds an acceptable baccalaureate or its equivalent and has not been admitted in a graduate program. The overwhelming majority of postbaccalaureate students are pursuing a credential or certificate. A small proportion of students pursue a second baccalaureate.

  • What is the definition of a graduate student? A graduate student holds an acceptable baccalaureate or its equivalent and has been admitted to a graduate program. Graduate students are pursuing either a master's degree or a joint-doctoral degree.

     

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    FAQ about regular and special admissions for undergraduates

  • What are regular admissions?

    Applicants are assigned regular admission status if their academic record fully meets the CSU admissions criteria.

  • What are special (or exceptional) admissions?

    Special admission status is assigned to applicants that did not meet the regular CSU admission requirements, but did meet alternative admission requirements established by a campus. California Education Code defines two types of special admission categories.

    (1) One category represents applicants not otherwise eligible that are classified as "disadvantaged" (Sec. 40901). Applicants that come from low-income families are one example of disadvantage students.

    (2) The other category represents applicants not otherwise eligible that are not classified as "disadvantaged" (Sec. 40900 - General). Students in this category fall into at least one of the five subgroups described below:

      (a) Scholarship: Previous academic performance not representative of scholastic ability; recent grades show marked improvement or pronounced strength in specific subjects.

      (b) Experience and Maturity: Promising depth and breadth of previous experience; unique cultural or experiential background that will enrich the campus; maturity or experiences that compensate for inadequate record.

      (c) Athletic Ability: Special athletic ability that will make a significant contribution to the campus.

      (d) Special Abilities and Talents: Special abilities other than athletic (for example, in visual and performing arts, forensics, science, or mathematics) that will make a significant contribution to the campus.

    Institutional Commitment: Recommendation from admissions review committee.

     

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    FAQ about Ethnic and Racial Self-Identification

  • How are ethnic data collected?

    Students identify themselves by ethnicity by selecting one of the following labels:

    (1) African American. All persons descending from any of the black racial groups of Africa (except those of Latino origin).

    (2) American Indian or Alaskan Native. All persons descending from any of the original people of North America, and who maintain cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.

    (3) Asian American. All persons descending from any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian Subcontinent. This area includes, for example, China, Japan, Korea, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Taiwan, India, and Thailand.

    (4) Filipino. All persons descending from any of the original people of the Philippine Islands.

    (5) Mexican American, Mexican. All persons descending from any of the original people of Mexico.

    (6) Other Latino. All persons descending from any of the original people of Central America or South America, including persons having origins from Cuba, Puerto Rico, other Caribbean Islands, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race (except Mexican American).

    (7) Pacific Islander. All persons descending from any of the original peoples of the Pacific Islands (except Filipinos). This area includes, for example, Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti, Guam, Fiji, and the Marshall Islands.

    (8) White Non-Latino. All persons descending from any of the original people of Europe, North Africa, the Middle East (except those of Latino origin).

    (9) Unknown. Students having an ethnic group code of "No Response," and "Declined to State" are grouped together in this report as "Unknown." This group also includes students whose ethnicity cannot be classified into one of the identified groups.

     

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    FAQ about Majors, Degrees, and Credentials

  • How are enrollments by majors posted?

    During the 2001-2002 college year, CSU undergraduates were enrolled in 251 bachelor's degree programs; and CSU graduate students were enrolled in 202 master degrees programs or 14 joint doctoral programs. Enrollments for specific majors by degree level can be found in the fall Statistical Reports entitled "CSU Student Enrollment in Degree Programs." Table 4 lists undergraduates by major; and tables 10-11 list the enrollments by major for those seeking masters or joint doctoral degrees. At any point in time, a segment of the student population is categorized as "undeclared." For many of the tables denoting enrollment in different academic programs, the two hundred plus majors are aggregated into the following 20 discipline categories:

    AgricultureEngineeringLetters
    ArchitectureFine and Applied ArtsMathematics
    Area StudiesForeign LanguagesPhysical Sciences
    Biological SciencesHealth ProfessionsPsychology
    Business-ManagementHome EconomicsPublic Affairs
    CommunicationsInformation SciencesSocial Sciences
    EducationInterdisciplinary 

  • How are degrees conferred posted?

    At the end of each college year, we post a Statistical Report on "CSU Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees Granted." The listings follow the classification systems applied to enrollments. So, for example, table 5 displays undergraduate degrees conferred for specific majors; plus tables 8 and 9 display specific majors for graduate degrees conferred. Moreover, most of the remaining tables list degreed conferred by discipline.

  • What information is available about credential enrollments?

    Since the 2001- 2002 college year, we have posted enrollments for students seeking teaching credentials; that is, students pursuing single-subject, multiple subject, or special education credentials. The tables provide separate counts for postbaccalaureate students, interns, and undergraduates enrolled in integrated or blended programs. College year figures can be found in the Statistical Reports on "CSU Credential Program Enrollment."

  • Where can I find information about teacher credential awarded?

    The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) awards credentials and certificates on the basis of completion of programs that meet Standards for Educator Preparation and Standards for Educator Competence. Thus the CSU recommends to the CCTC that credentials or certificates be conferred to students who successfully completed CSU teacher programs. CCTC posts credentials and certificates it awards each year at the following site: http://www.ctc.ca.gov/reports_on_line.html. The information is also available on our website. If you click on the "CSU Credential Report" link at our homepage, you will find numbers, by segment, dating back to 1996-97.

     

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    FAQ about Academic Performance Reports and Proficiency Reports

  • What is the rational for the Academic Performance Reports?

    Academic Performance Reports provide feedback about new undergraduates from California high schools or California community colleges. Each year new regularly admitted students are sorted by their institution of origin and tracked from their initial fall enrollment to the next fall term. First the CSU campus destination is posted. Next two background characteristics are provided: high school GPA and SAT/ACT Scores. Then four CSU outcomes are generated for schools that sent 5 or more students during the observed fall term: English proficiency, math proficiency, the CSU grade point average and the one-year continuation rate. The information yields CSU comparisons like the following for each observed high school or community college:

    The fall 2002 cohort of freshman had a higher grade point average than the fall 1995 cohort of freshman (2.79 vs. 2.63); and the fall 2002 cohort had a higher one-year continuation rate than the fall 1995 cohort (80% vs. 78%).

    The information also provides contextual information like the following for each observed high school or community college:

    The fall 2002 cohort of freshman attained higher high school grade point average and combined SAT score than the fall 1995 cohort of freshmen (i.e., 2.73 vs. 2.63; 1002 vs. 982).

    The link for the Academic Performance Reports is on the homepage. Because continuation is one of the indicators, cohort-based statistics are posted one-year plus one term after initial enrollment.

  • What is the rationale for the Proficiency Reports?

    Proficiency Reports provide feedback to CSU campuses about the proportion of new regularly admitted, first-time freshmen that are prepared to enroll in college-level math or college-level English courses. They also provide the same feedback for the specific California high schools from where the freshman originated. Proficiency is demonstrated by two outcomes that are determined before freshmen begin their first fall term: exhibiting a sufficiently high verbal and math SAT/ACT scores, scoring above the cut-off on the CSU math and English placement tests. The link for the Proficiency Reports is on the homepage. Because proficiency is determined at entry, cohort-based statistics are posted just one term after initial enrollment.

     

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    Prepared by:
    Philip Garcia
    Director of Analytic Studies
    Office of the Chancellor
    The California State University


  • Content Contacts:
    wherron@calstate.edu
    ASD Web Manager:
    llimbeek@calstate.edu
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    webmaster@calstate.edu


    Last Updated: December 11, 2006