Glossary of Terms

This glossary provides definitions of the terminology used in the OIEP dashboards and reports. For questions, please contact us at

Admit Age GroupAge when student was first admitted into a degree seeking program.
Asynchronous Remote InstructionOnline instruction that does not require the instructor and students to meet at the same time.
Career Outcomes RatePercentage of undergraduates who obtain employment and/or pursue further education.
Census DateThe date when the number of students enrolled in each class and section is counted. For semester terms, the census date shall be no sooner than the end of the fourteenth calendar day from the beginning of the term. (SCHEV)
Class LevelDesignation of a student as freshmen, sophomore, junior, senior, certificates, extended studies, law, masters, or doctoral based on program enrollment and number of credits completed.
Contact HourA unit of measure that represents an hour of scheduled instruction given to students. Also referred to as clock hours. (SCHEV)
Contract HoursHours for contract courses, which are offered through a documented agreement between the George Mason University and a public school division or another agency.
Credit HoursIn accordance with 34 CFR 600.2 as amended, the University defines a “clock hour” as a period of time consisting of:
1. A 50- to 60-minute class, lecture, or recitation in a 60-minute period;
2. A 50- to 60-minute faculty-supervised laboratory, practicum, studio session, or internship in a 60-minute period; or
3. In distance education, 50 to 60 minutes in a 60-minute period of attendance in:
  i. a synchronous or asynchronous class, lecture, or recitation where there is opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and students; or ii. an asynchronous learning activity involving academic engagement in which the student interacts with technology that can monitor and document the amount of time that the student participates in the activity.  
Please refer to University Policy Number 3011 for a complete overview of credit hours.
DegreeAn award conferred by George Mason University as official recognition for the successful completion of a program of studies. (SCHEV)
Degree LevelDesignation of student as undergraduate, law, or graduate.
Degree-seeking StudentStudent enrolled in courses for credit who is recognized by the institution as seeking a degree or formal award. (SCHEV)
Employee CategoryThe current employment classification, as defined by Human Resources, for an employee.
Extended StudiesNon-degree seeking students.
First-time FreshmenA student attending any institution for the first time at the undergraduate level. Includes students enrolled in the fall term who attended college for the first time in the prior summer term. Also includes students who entered with advanced standing (college credits earned before graduation from high school). (SCHEV) Other descriptors: first-time, first year student, first-time in college
First GenerationA person who indicated that their parent(s) have not completed a bachelor’s degree. There are two data sources. FASFA and admission forms.
Full-time Equivalent (FTE)Term FTE for Fall and Spring is obtained by dividing the total credit hours of undergraduate, first professional (law), and graduate students  by 15, 15 and 12 respectively. Term FTE for Summer is obtained by dividing the total credit hours of undergraduate, first professional (law), and graduate students by 30, 30 and 24 respectively.
Full-time StudentAn undergraduate or professional student enrolled for 12+ credit hours in a semester, or a graduate student enrolled for 9+ credit hours in a semester. (SCHEV)
Full-time EmployeeOne who works 40 hours per week for 12 months per year. (VA Dept HR – Policy No 2.20)
Freshmen0-29 credits completed. The term generally indicates a student is in the first year of a bachelor’s degree or occupational or technical program. (SCHEV)
GraduateA student who obtains a degree. Students with multiple degrees are counted once at the university level. Students with multiple degrees within a college are counted once.
Headcount StudentA student enrolled for more than zero credit hours in courses offered for degree or certificate credit. (SCHEV)
In-state StudentA student whose domicile is the Commonwealth of Virginia. (SCHEV)
IPEDSIntegrated Post-Secondary Education Data System
Junior30-59 credits completed.
The term generally indicates a student in the third year of a bachelor’s program. (SCHEV)
Korea CampusFor enrollment dashboards: Campus designation for students taking credit hours at the Korea campus. For degree dashboards: Campus designation for students who matriculated to Mason Korea.
MinorityBy race/ethnicity, a student who identifies with any one of the following: American Indian Asian Black Hispanic Pacific Islander Two or More
New StudentIn New vs Return Status, a new student includes the following: Law Year 1 (full-time and part-time), transfer, and first-time students.
Nonresident AlienA 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. (SCHEV) Nonresident alien (NRA) is not included in any of the racial/ethnic categories described under Minority, Underrepresented Minority, or Underrepresented Student.
Other FreshmenReturning or transfer students who have completed fewer than 30 credits.
Out-of-state StudentA student whose domicile is not the Commonwealth of Virginia. (SCHEV)
Part-time EmployeeOne who works 20-29 hours per week for 12 months per year, or less than 40 hours per week and at least 1040 hours per year but no more than 1500 hours for 9, 10, or 11 consecutive months per year. (VA Dept HR – Policy No 2.20)
Part-time Student (undergraduate)A student enrolled in fewer than 12 credits per semester. (SCHEV)
Pell StudentOf those who completed the FAFSA, students who received Pell during the aid year. Students who are Pell eligible and receive a direct subsidized loan are categorized as Pell Eligible. They are not categorized under Direct Subsidized Loan.
Race/EthnicitySelf-reported race/ethnic identification as reported in a student’s college application.
Response RateThe percentage of individuals who respond to a survey, calculated by dividing the number of respondents by the number of individuals who received an invitation to participate in a survey.
Retention RatePercentage of new students who enrolled as of census their first fall term, and returned to Mason the subsequent fall term(s).
Return StudentIn New vs Return Status, a student who previously enrolled at Mason and re-enrolled. In other words, return students include all who are not new to the university. See New student for a definition of “new.”
Senior90 or more credits completed.
The term generally indicates a student in the fourth year of a bachelor’s program. (SCHEV)
Sophomore60-89 credits completed.
The term generally indicates a student in the second year of a bachelor’s degree. (SCHEV)
Student TypeDesignation of student as continuing; first-time, first-year; or transfer at the time of their first term at GMU. Continuing refers to students who re-enroll. See Transfer student for a definition for “transfer.”
Synchronous Remote instructionOnline instruction that does requires the instructor and students to meet at the same time.
Traditional HoursHours for regular courses offered to George Mason University students.
Transfer StudentA student entering the institution for the first time but known to have previously attended a post-secondary institution at the same level (e.g., undergraduate, graduate, first professional). (SCHEV/IPEDS)
Tuition DomicileTo qualify for in-state tuition based on domicile, a student or in the case of a dependent student, their parent, spouse or legal guardian must demonstrate through clear and convincing evidence that they have been domiciled in Virginia for at least 12 continuous months immediately prior to the first day of classes. Exceptions may include high school completion, military and other conditions. For a complete detail of tuition domicile determination, visit the Office of the University Registrar.
Two or MoreTwo or more race/ethnicities. This designation includes two categories: White-Asian (Non-URM) and other Two-or-more races (URM).
UndergraduateA 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. (SCHEV)
Underrepresented StudentA student meeting any one of these conditions is counted only once as being from an “underrepresented” population: Non-white US citizen and permanent residents Degree-recipients receiving Pell grants at any time during the Ten-Years prior to degree award Non-traditional students: age 25 or older at entry Students from Virginia localities in the lowest quintile of associate and baccalaureate attainment rates (SCHEV)
Underrepresented Minorities (URM)A student who identifies with any one of the following: American Indian Black Hispanic Pacific Islander
US CampusesFor enrollment dashboards: Campus designation for students taking credit hours at any US campus, online, or with no hours. Korea cohort students taking classes at a US campus are also included in this designation. For degree dashboards: Campus designation for students who matriculated to the GMU campus. This does not include students of online programs or Korea cohort students taking classes at a US campus.