OK  one more
Federal Financial Aid and CDS and IPEDS are three distinct data reporting issues. That may not be the intent but it is the reality.


This was the situation for several years in Louisiana (may still be for some institutions) -

Student are not 4-year admitable if they need developmental course work.

Some of these student enrolls in a 2yr institution with the sole intent of completing developmental requirements. They register for 12+ hours in the fall term and complete their developmental courses.

That term the 2yr institution considers them full-time, degree-seeking for Federal Aid purposes (PELL, Perkins, …..) but does not report them in the cohort to IPEDS and CDS because they are not seeking a degree at their institution. The 2yr institution does not want to negatively impact their retention and graduation rate with individuals who have no intention on completing at their institution.  The financial aid audits did not contest this process or produce findings.  Students are enrolled in non-degree paths and get aid all the time ie pre-nursing but not admitted to nursing program; pre-pharmacy, but not admitted to pharmacy, - these pre- programs often do not lead to a degree or certificate if the student does not get admitted to the degree granting program. It is their intent that trumps their program status for aid purposes.

Thousands of students every year were coded this way.


From: Marla Smith [mailto:Marla.Smith@mitchelltech.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 3:31 PM
To: Common Data Set <cds@collegeboard.lyris.net>
Subject: RE: [cds] Definition of "Degree-Seeking"


And last one for me as well –


If the student receives financial aid, then the student is degree-seeking regardless of whether the student intends to graduate from that institution or not.


If the student does not receive financial aid, then the student’s intent is used to determine degree-seeking or not-degree-seeking.  And the institution would have to have a system in place to determine and code that (with a consistent institutional policy, as Jacques noted).  At our institution, when students apply to enter a program of study they are coded as degree-seeking.  If they enroll in classes without applying for a program of study, we code them as limited enrollment, non-degree-seeking.  And, of course, with that status they are ineligible for financial aid.


In George’s original question, the student did not intend to graduate from that institution.  That student would be non-degree-seeking UNLESS he/she had received financial aid.


Marla Smith

Accreditation & Institutional Effectiveness Director

Mitchell Technical Institute

Mitchell, SD






From: Detiege, Jacques [mailto:jdetiege@uhcno.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 3:19 PM
To: Common Data Set <cds@collegeboard.lyris.net>
Subject: RE: [cds] Definition of "Degree-Seeking"


Last one for me –

But the student in question has indicated NOT to seek a degree so this IPEDS definition does not apply.

I still believe there is no correct answer, but there should be a consistent institutional policy that can be defended.



From: Yiting Ling [mailto:yiting0@uw.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 3:12 PM
To: Common Data Set <cds@collegeboard.lyris.net>
Subject: RE: [cds] Definition of "Degree-Seeking"


IPEDS provided answer for similar case.

If a student enrolled for credit has not indicated whether they intend to earn a degree or certificate, how do I determine whether they are degree/certificate-seeking?

If the student has not indicated any intent but is applying for Title IV federal financial aid, assume the student to be degree/certificate-seeking.


The link is here : https://surveys.nces.ed.gov/ipeds/VisFaqView.aspx?mode=reg&id=3&show=all#794


From: Shockley, Ellie [mailto:elizabeth.shockley@bismarckstate.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 1:03 PM
To: Common Data Set <cds@collegeboard.lyris.net>
Subject: RE: [cds] Definition of "Degree-Seeking"


In this instance, it is my understanding that “degree-seeking” is shorthand for “credential-seeking” more broadly construed. We use it to include certificate-seeking students. So when we say “degree-seeking” as a differentiation from “non-degree” students, “degree-seeking” in our case means they are enrolled in a program that leads to a certificate, AAS, AA, or AS. For us, non-degree students are in no particular program. They are simply taking one or more courses. They may eventually enroll into a program, and then their category would change.


We also have students who actually do not intend to complete their program here prior to transferring, such as liberal arts students who may complete only one year of an AA/AS program for transferring to a 4-year institution. They are still considered degree-seeking because they are in a degree-seeking program. If they were to opt to be a non-degree student, they would miss out on a variety of financial aid opportunities.


Ellie Shockley, Ph.D.

Institutional Research Analyst

Bismarck State College



From: Micah Thomas [mailto:micah.thomas@yu.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 2:34 PM
To: Common Data Set <cds@collegeboard.lyris.net>
Subject: Re: [cds] Definition of "Degree-Seeking"


I would say that the classification “Degree-seeking” has more to do with the program in which the student is enrolled and less so with the student’s intention. For example, if it is a certificate bearing program, a student enrolled in such would not be classified as a degree-seeker…


My two cents…




Micah Thomas

Director of Enrollment Management

Katz School of Graduate & Professional Studies

Yeshiva University

New York, NY

P: 212.960.5400 ext. 6271 | yu.edu


From: George Allen <gallen@hillsdale.edu>
Reply-To: "
cds@cblist.org" <cds@cblist.org>
Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 3:13 PM
To: Common Data Set <
Subject: [cds] Definition of "Degree-Seeking"




If we have a student who enrolls in credit-bearing courses as a first-time, full-time undergraduate, but who says they do not intend to graduate from our institution and indeed transfers out after their first year, should they be included in our cohort? Do they count as “degree-seeking”, or not?


Thank you,


George Allen

Director of Institutional Research

Hillsdale College