Institutional Research

Institutional Research


Academic Year:  The time period containing the academic sessions held during consecutive summer, fall, winter and spring semesters.

Associate's Degree: An award that requires at least two years of full-time equivalent college work and the successful completion of an undergraduate course of studies. (Source: IPEDS)

Auditing: Enrolling in and attending a course on a non-credit basis. The instructor's permission is needed and an audit form must be properly completed within the specified time limit for the semester or session.  Audited courses appear on the student's transcript as "AU"; no credits are awarded. (Source: HCC College Catalog)

Banner: The database used to store HCC student and related data.  Banner is a relational database application licensed by Ellucian.

Benchmark: As the term is typically used in HCC data reports, a benchmark is a standard or point of reference against which survey results may be compared or assessed.

CCSSE (Community College Survey of Student Engagement): A survey that asks spring semester students about institutional practices and student behaviors highly correlated with student learning success and retention.  The survey is a product and service of the Center for Community College Student Engagement, which is part of the Program for Higher Education Leadership at The University of Texas at Austin. (Source:  CCSSE)

CCFSSE (Community College Faculty Survey of Student Engagement): A companion to the CCSSE, the CCFSSE asks faculty about their perceptions of students' educational experiences and about their teaching practices and the ways they spend their professional time, both in and out of the classroom. (Source:  CCFSSE)

Certificate Programs: Short-term programs, usually 30 credits or less, intended for occupational training, upgrading, or retraining. Students receive a certificate upon successfully fulfilling all requirements and applying for graduation. (Source: HCC College Catalog)

CEU (Continuing Education Unit): A measurement (1 CEU = 10 class contact hours) nationally recognized by business, industry, and professional organizations for evaluating an individual's effort toward professional growth. CEUs are designed for professionals with certificates or licenses to practice various professions (nursing, etc.). 

Class Level: A classification applied to students that is determined by the number of credits they have earned toward a degree (see First-Year Student, Freshman, Sophomore).

Completer: A student who receives a degree, diploma, certificate or other formal award. (Source: IPEDS)

Continuing Student: A student who attended HCC sometime during the two-year period immediately preceding the current semester. "Continuing" is one of seven student-type values (see Student Type).  

Course Level:  A classification of courses that, at HCC, includes Developmental, College 100 and College 200. 

Course Success: As used in most HCC reports, successful credit-course completion is defined by a final grade of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C or P. 

Credit: A unit of academic achievement that is awarded upon the successful completion of a course. (Source: HCC College Catalog)

Credit Hour: The college defines a credit hour* as an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalence that reasonably approximates not less than -

  • one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately 15 weeks for one semester, or the equivalent amount of credit over a different period of time;
  • at least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

*Standards for Credit Hour of the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Standards for Accreditation Revision, July 1, 2011. Adopted by Housatonic Community College Curriculum Committee, December 8, 2011. (Source: HCC College Catalog)

Degree Programs: Academic programs requiring 60 to 68 credit hours to complete and which earn the Associate in Arts or the Associate in Science degree designation. An associate's degree requires a minimum of 60 credits. (Source: HCC College Catalog)

Fall Cohort: The group of students entering in the fall term that is established for tracking purposes.  For the Graduate Rates components of IPEDS statistics, the fall cohort includes all students who enter as full-time, first-time degree- or certificate-seeking students during the fall term of a given year. (Source:  IPEDS)

First-Year Student:  A student who has earned fewer than 30 credits toward a degree. (Source: HCC College Catalog)

Freshman: A first-year undergraduate student. (Source: IPEDS)

Freeze Date: The date upon which a snapshot of Banner data is taken shortly after each semester begins.  The data captured as of the freeze date (also known as the census date) becomes the official data set for the semester.

Full Time Equivalent (FTE):  A single value providing a meaningful combination of full-time and part-time students.  IPEDS provides two approved ways to calculate FTE students, one using fall student headcounts and the other using 12-month instructional activity. (Source: IPEDS)

Full-Time (FT) Student: A student registered for more than 12 credits in a semester.  (Source: HCC College Catalog)

Grade Point Average (GPA), Semester: A numerical computation of a student's grades.

Graduation Rate: As required by the Student-Right-to-Know Act, the graduation rate is the total number of completers within 150 percent of normal time divided by the revised adjusted cohort (the count of students in the initial first-time/full-time cohort minus the count of allowed exclusions). (Source: IPEDS)

Headcount: As the term is typically used in HCC data reports, the headcount is the total number of students enrolled at a given point in time; each student is only counted once.  The student level can be credit or non-credit, as specified for a given report.

Hybrid Courses: Courses that combine traditional classroom lectures with online coursework. Typically, 50 percent of coursework is conducted by on-campus meetings. All hybrid courses meet in the classroom on the first scheduled day of class. (Source: HCC College Catalog)

IPEDS: The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is the core postsecondary education data collection system for the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).  It is a system of interrelated surveys conducted annually by NCES. Provides basic data needed to describe—and analyze trends in—postsecondary education in the U.S. in terms of numbers of students enrolled, staff employed, dollars expended, and degrees earned.  (Source:  NCES)

Major: A subject of academic study chosen as a field of specialization.

New Student: A first-time, first-year student attending any institution for the first time at an undergraduate level. The definition includes students enrolled for a fall term who attended HCC for the first time in the prior summer term and students who enter with advanced standing (college credits earned before graduation from high school - AP, Tech Prep/College Career Pathways, HS Partnership, etc.). "New" is one of seven student-type values (see Student Type). (Source: HCC College Catalog)

ONCLR Courses: An Online with Campus Requirement (ONCLR) course is conducted online but requires a student to come to the campus to complete an exam (midterm, final). (Source: HCC College Catalog)

Online Courses: Courses offered via computer Internet connection, without regularly scheduled on-campus classes. (Source: HCC College Catalog)

Parallel Course: A course that must be taken during the same semester as another course in order to fulfill the prerequisite for that course. (Source: HCC College Catalog)

Part-Time (PT) Student: A student registered for fewer than 12 credits in a semester.  (Source: HCC College Catalog)

Prerequisite Course: A course that must be successfully completed before a student can enroll in the next course. Often a grade of "C" or higher is required. (Source: HCC College Catalog)

Readmit Student: A student returning to the college after an absence of at least two years (including summer and winter sessions).  "Readmit" is one of seven student type values (see Student Type). (Source: HCC College Catalog)

Retention: A measure of academic progress expressed as the percentage of students who return from one semester or year to the next.

Seats: As the term is typically used in HCC data reports, one "seat" is the equivalent of a single student sitting in a single class.  Total seats at any given point in time count each student for every class for which the student is registered—the equivalent of a headcount that includes duplicates.  The seat level can be credit or non-credit, as specified for a given data report.

Semester Hour: A semester hour is a measure of time usually corresponding to 55 minutes of lecture once per week for an entire semester. (Source: HCC College Catalog)

SENSE (Survey of Entering Student Engagement): Administered early in the fall semester, the SENSE is designed to provide a clear picture of both student behaviors in the earliest weeks of college and the institutional practices that affect students during this critical time.  A companion to the CCSSE, SENSE also is a product and service of the Center for Community College Student Engagement, which is part of the Program for Higher Education Leadership at The University of Texas at Austin. At HCC, the OIE supervises administration of the survey.  (Source: SENSE)

Service Area:  HCC welcomes students from throughout the state and beyond, but the college's primary service area consists of 11 communities:  Ansonia, Bridgeport, Derby, Easton, Fairfield, Milford, Monroe, Seymour, Shelton, Stratford and Trumbull.

Sophomore: A student who has earned at least 30 credits toward a degree. (Source: HCC College Catalog)

Student Type:  A student type is assigned to each enrolled student by the Banner system.  A student's type may change from semester to semester (e.g., a "new" student in the fall who returns in the spring is considered a "continuing" student during the spring semester).

Transfer Student: A transfer student is a student who most recently attended another college or university. "Transfer" is one of seven student type values (see Student Type). (Source: HCC College Catalog)

Last updated: March 17, 2015

Janice Schaeffler, Director of Institutional Research, (203) 332- 5220
Phyllis Fitzpatrick, Research Specialist, (203) 332- 5171
Catherine Velez, Research Assistant, (203) 332- 5171
Karen Vo, Research Assistant, (203) 332- 5171