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Common Data Set

Water towerCommon Data Set – The Common Data Set (CDS) initiative is a collaborative effort among data provides in the higher education community and publishers as represented by the College Board, Peterson’s-Thomson Learning and U.S. News & World Report.  The combined goal of this collaboration is to improve the quality and accuracy of information provided to all involved in a student’s transition into higher education, as well as to reduce the reporting burden on data providers.

This goal is attained by the development of clear, standard data items and definitions in order to determine a specific cohort relevant to each item. Data items and definitions used by the U.S. Department of Education in its higher education surveys often serve as a guide in the continued development of the CDS.  Common Data Set items undergo broad review by the CDS Advisory Board as well as by data providers representing secondary schools and two and four year colleges.  Feedback from those who utilize the CDS also is considered throughout the annual review process.


The Common Data Set includes the following sections:

SECTION A:  General Information

SECTION B:  Enrollment and Persistence

SECTION C: First-time, First-year Admission

SECTION D:  Transfer Admission

SECTION E:  Academic Offerings and Policies

SECTION F:  Student Life

SECTION G:  Annual Expenses

SECTION H:  Financial Aid

SECTION I:  Instructional Faculty and Class Size

SECTION J:  Degrees Conferred

Common Data Set Definitions

2013-2014 Common Data Set 

2012-2013 Common Data Set

2011-2012 Common Data Set

2010-2011 Common Data Set

2009-2010 Common Data Set

2008-2009 Common Data Set

2007-2008 Common Data Set

2006-2007 Common Data Set

2005-2006 Common Data Set