|The data collection instrument changed considerably over time, with different survey forms used for 1967, 1968, 1969-72, 1973-75, 1976-79, 1980-85, 1986-89, and 1990 through the present. A summary of the differences includes:
1967: Emphasis was on resident (i.e., main or branch campus) versus extension students. Undergraduate and graduate students included only resident students, not those considered extension students. First-professional and graduate students were not collected separately. Note that unknown graduate students include first-professional students.
1968: Emphasis was on students working toward a degree versus occupational programs. First-professional and graduate students were not collected separately. Note that unknown graduate students include first-professional students.
1969-72: Emphasis was on students in degree-credit programs versus non-degree-credit programs, broken down by resident versus extension students. First-professional students included only resident (i.e., main or branch campus) students, not those considered extension students. First-professional extension students are included in unknown graduate students.
1973-75 Resident and extension students were combined. For undergraduates only, emphasis was on degree-credit programs versus vocational-technical programs.
1976-79: Data for degree-seeking undergraduate students were collected by year of study.
1980-85: Same as 1976-79 except graduate students were broken down by first-time graduate students instead of first-year graduate students. Due to multiple survey form changes within this period, data on undergraduate year of study are not meaningful and have been loaded into unknown undergraduate.
1986-89: The IPEDS surveys are intended to encompass the entire universe of postsecondary institutions as defined by the Institutional Characteristics Survey. There were three versions of the survey form.
- The most extensive form, EF1, was sent to all four-year-and-greater public and private institutions;
- form EF2, which collects less detailed data, was sent to all two-to-four-year public and private institutions; and
- form EF3 was sent to all less-than-two-year public institutions, as well as a sample of less-than-two-year private institutions.
Note that unknown undergraduates include non-degree-seeking undergraduates as well as degree-seeking undergraduates for whom the academic level is unknown.
1990-1995: Same as 1986-89 except form EF1 was sent to accredited four-year institutions as well as non-accredited four-year institutions offering a bachelor's, master's, doctoral, or first-professional degree. Form EF2 was sent to all remaining accredited institutions. Data for all non-accredited public four-year (except those offering a bachelor's, master's, doctoral, or first-professional degree), two-but-less-than-four-year, and less-than-two-year institutions as well as a sample of private, less-than-two-year schools were collected via the consolidated form, CN.
1996: Form EF1 was sent to 4-year, degree-granting institutions eligible for Title
IV financial aid programs and 4-year institutions offering a bachelor's, master's, doctor's
or first-professional degree that are not eligible for Title IV financial aid. Form EF2 was sent to 2-year, degree-granting, eligible postsecondary institutions. Data for all remaining Title IV-eligible institutions were collected via the consolidated form, CN, which collects only a few major items.
1997: Enrollment data were collected from postsecondary institutions that were eligible to participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs in the United States and its outlying areas. Eligibility status of institutions was obtained from the Office of Postsecondary Education's March 1997 Postsecondary Education Participants System (PEPS) file. Postsecondary education is defined as the provision of a formal instructional program whose curriculum is designed
primarily for students who are beyond the compulsory age for high school; this includes programs whose purpose is academic, vocational, and continuing professional education, and excludes avocational (leisure) and adult basic
education programs. Form EF1 was sent to
all 4-year institutions. Form EF2 was sent to 2-year postsecondary institutions that grant an associate's degree (degree-granting). Additional enrollment data were collected on the consolidated form, CN, which was sent to 2-year institutions that grant awards or certificates of at least 2 but less than 4 academic years (non-degree-granting) and less-than-
2-year institutions that offer awards or certificates of less than 2 years duration.
1998: Enrollment data were collected through two IPEDS surveys. The Fall Enrollment
Survey (IPEDS-EF:98) was sent to all institutions that award associate's or higher level
degrees or postbaccalaureate or higher level certificates and that have a Title IV Program
Participation Agreement (PPA) with the Department of Education. Postsecondary
institutions that award only certificates or diplomas requiring less than 4 years to
complete reported enrollment as part of their IPEDS Consolidated Survey (IPEDSCN:
2000-present: Data were collected from postsecondary institutions in the United States and its outlying areas; a postsecondary
institution is defined as an organization that is open to the public and has as its primary mission
the provision of postsecondary education (formal
instructional programs with a curriculum designed primarily for students who are beyond the
compulsory age for high school, including academic, vocational, and continuing
professional education programs and excluding institutions that offer only avocational, leisure,
and adult basic education programs.)
Participation in the IPEDS is a requirement for the institutions that participated in Title IV federal student financial aid programs such as Pell Grants or Stafford Loans; institutions that did not participate in Title IV programs are offered the opportunity to participate in the IPEDS data collection process. Institutions participating in Title IV programs are accredited by an agency or organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, have a program of over 300 clock hours or 8 credit hours, have been in business for at least 2 years, and have a signed Program Participation Agreement (PPA) with the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE), U.S. Department of Education.