Common Data Set

The Common Data Set (CDS) initiative is a collaborative effort among data providers in the higher education community and publishers as represented by the College Board, Peterson's, 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.
  • Each of the higher education surveys conducted by the participating publishers incorporates items from the CDS as well as unique items proprietary to each publisher.
  • Consequently, the publishers' surveys differ in that they utilize varying numbers of items from the CDS.

What is the Common Data Set?

The data presented in these PDFs are the result of a collaborative effort by the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, the Office of the Registrar, the Admissions Departments, the Financial Aid Department and the Business Office.

Page last updated on 3/3/2020