The Common Data Set 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 (Source: Common Data Set Initiative).
The Common Data Set is used for reporting to college guide publishers, but is also useful for finding general facts and figures about the institution. It is prepared in fall term, after census, for the current academic year. Part G - Annual Expenses, is completed late spring term, once tuition and fees for the next academic year have been set.
The Common Data Set has the following sections:
- A - General Information
- B - Enrollment & Persistence
- C - First-Time, First-Year (Freshman) Admission
- D - Transfer Admission
- E - Academic Offerings & Policies
- F - Student Life
- G - Annual Expenses (usually available later in academic year)
- H - Financial Aid
- I - Instructional Faculty & Class Size
- J - Degrees Conferred