Metropedia glossary

Metropedia is Metropolitan State University's ever expanding glossary first initiated in summer 2013 as a continuous improvement action project. We believe the Metropedia helps establish common language and common understanding across our institution and with stakeholders. Definitions are followed by their source, where applicable. Full list of sources at bottom of the page.

Academic Year

The period of formal academic instruction divided into three semesters. At Metropolitan State, the academic year includes the fall, spring, and summer terms. For example, academic year 2014-15 includes fall 2014, spring 2015, and summer 2015. Note the difference when compared to Fiscal Year. ~ derived from Minnesota State institution

For faculty, the Academic Year begins with the start of the fall semester and ends with the completion of the spring semester. (Source: IFO Contract Article 5, Section A, Subd. 1) Summer Session is the time between the last day of spring semester and the first day of fall semester, or any portion thereof. ~ IFO Contract Article 13, Section B Action Plan The description of how goals and objectives are to be achieved. ~


Action Project

A collaborative enterprise, planned to improve performance and demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement. AQIP requires institutions to be working on three to four projects at all times. At least on project must relate directly to Helping Students Learn. ~ HLC 2015


Admission Status

Upon being admitted to the University, students are assigned an admission status. Below are the admission statuses that can be assigned to a student:

  • Undergraduate Regular: New first-time degree-seeking undergraduate student in credit courses.
  • Undergraduate Transfer: New degree-seeking undergraduate student in credit courses who previously attended a postsecondary institution after high school, regardless of whether transfer credits were accepted.
  • Undergraduate with Previous Degree: Degree-seeking undergraduate student in credit courses with a previous bachelor's degree.
  • PSEO High School Student: High School Student enrolled as an undergraduate in credit courses under the provisions of the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) Program.
  • Non-PSEO High School Student: High School Student in credit courses enrolled as an undergraduate but not under the provisions of the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) Program.
  • Undergraduate Unclassified: Non-degree-seeking undergraduate student in credit courses.
  • Undergraduate Unclassified with Bachelor's Degree from this institution: Non-degree-seeking undergraduate student in credit courses who earned a bachelor's degree from this institution.
  • Graduate Certificate/Licensure: Certificate/Licensure-seeking graduate student in credit courses who may be enrolled in graduate and undergraduate courses.
  • Graduate Regular: First-Time degree-seeking graduate student in credit courses.
  • Graduate Unclassified: Non-degree-seeking graduate student in credit courses.
  • Graduate Unclassified with Award from this institution: Non-degree-seeking graduate student in credit courses who earned a degree from this institution.
  • Post Masters Regular: Degree-seeking post-masters student in credit courses.
  • Post Masters Unclassified: Non-degree-seeking post-masters student in credit courses.
  • Specialist: Degree-seeking graduate specialist student in credit courses.
  • Doctoral: Degree-seeking doctoral student in credit courses. ~ Minnesota State



Applicant who has met application requirements and is offered admission. This can relate to both admission to the University and admission to a major/program. ~ Metro Admissions Glossary


Adult learner Alignment

A state of consistency among the plans, processes, information, resource decisions, actions, results, and analysis that support key organization-wide goals. ~ CPE 2013-14

(see Post-Traditional Student)


An individual who has fulfilled the institution's requirements to be considered for admission (including payment or waiving of the application fee, if any) and who has been notified of one of the following actions: admission, non-admission, placement on waiting list, or application withdrawn by applicant or institution. ~ IPEDS



Academic Quality Improvement Program


AQIP Pathway

One of the three HLC Pathways for reaffirmation of accreditation, it is based on the principles of continuous improvement. ~ HLC 2015


AQIP Steering Committee

Supports the Provost in maintaining regional accreditation status by coordinating efforts to demonstrate compliance with AQIP and HLC assurance criteria. ~ OIEandA



Processes and results that represent the best practices ad best performance for similar activities, inside and outside an organization's industry. Benchmarks are one form of comparative data. ~ CPE 2013-14


Capability (organizational)

Capability describes a unique, collective ability that can be applied to achieve a specific outcome. It describes what an organization is capable of doing, but not how it does it. Capabilities are organizational level skills imbedded in people, process, technology and information. ~ Accelare Inc.


Census Type

(see Record Type)



A specific group of students established for tracking purposes ~ IPEDS. At Metropolitan State University, different cohort codes are used widely throughout various divisions for tracking purposes. However, there are specific programs that use cohorts to define a group of students entering their program. ~ Metro Admissions Glossary


Comprehensive Quality Review

An onsite visit to an institution to affirm the accuracy of the institutions Systems Portfolio, reviews Action Projects, assure the continuing quality improvement commitment, and confirm the institution's compliance with the Criteria for Accreditation. ~ HLC 2015


Continuing Enrollment

(see Headcount)

Continuous Improvement

The ongoing effort for the enhancement of services, processes or products. ~ ASQ

Conversion Rate

References student recruitment cycle ratios (funnel rates) from prospective, applied, admitted, to enrolled student status. At each phase yield rates are measured, benchmarked and compared across FY to identify trends and influences and nationally to other 4-year institutions. ~ derived from Ruffalo Noel-Levitz


Criteria for Accreditation

The framework for determining an institution's accreditation. ~ HLC 2015


Culture (organizational)

A common set of values, beliefs, attitudes, perceptions and accepted behaviors shared by individuals within an organization. ~ ASQ



Anyone whose interests are served by an organization, or who is the target of the services of an organization. ~ CPE 2013-14


Degree-seeking student

Is seeking to earn a certificate, diploma or degree from this institution or to transfer to another institution and is eligible for financial aid. ~ Minnesota State



The extent to which a system or process is utilized throughout an institution. ~ AQIP 2009



Concrete, factual evidence in the form of narrative or numerical guide. ~ AQIP 2009


Dual Admission

When a student is admitted into two institutions in a shared program. ~ Metro Admissions Glossary


Dual Enrollment

A student who is enrolled at two different post-secondary institutions at the same time. ~ Metro Admissions Glossary


Enrolled Credits

The total number of courses registered for within new enrollment, continuing enrollment, previously enrolled students, and total enrollment. ~ Metro Admissions Glossary



Students registered for credit or noncredit bearing courses. ~ Minnesota State


Enrollment Status

  • Full-Time Student: Includes undergraduate students enrolled for 12 or more credits.
  • Part-Time Student: Includes undergraduate students enrolled for less than 12 credits. ~ Minnesota State



  • Student Hispanic - student either selected the Hispanic checkbox only or selected Hispanic in addition to one of the following race categories.
  • American Indian or Alaska Native - student only selected the American Indian or Alaska Native checkbox.
  • Asian - student only selected the Asian checkbox.
  • Black or African American - student only selected the Black or African American checkbox.
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander - student only selected the Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander checkbox.
  • White - student only selected the White checkbox.
  • Two or more races - student did not select the Hispanic checkbox and selected two or more of the race checkboxes.
  • Unknown race and ethnicity - Did not respond or only selected the non-Hispanic checkbox.
  • Nonresident alien - Is a nonresident alien according to the visa and citizenship information on record at the institution. ~ IPEDS


Federal Compliance

The program used by HLC to assure that its institutions are complying with the expectations of specific regulations accreditors must enforce as a part of their federal recognition. ~ HLC 2015


Feedback loop

A systemic sequence for communicating information on process performance. ~ CPE 2013-14


Financial Fiscal Year

The year by which the budget is defined, July 1 - June 30. The start date of the course identifies the financial fiscal year. Financial management and budgeting use this type of fiscal year. For example, the financial fiscal year 2015 would include the second session of summer 2014, fall 2014, spring 2015 and any course which begins prior to July 1, 2015. ~ Minnesota State


Fiscal Year (FY)

Includes summer semester through the following spring semester as one fiscal year. For example, fiscal year 2015 would include summer 2014 (Year Term = 20151), fall 2014 (Year Term = 20153) and spring 2015 (Year Term = 20155). ~ Minnesota State


Full Year Equivalent (FYE) Student

Full year equivalency students. It is defined as Undergraduate Credit Hours divided by 30 credits = 1.0 FYE Graduate Credit Hours divided by 20 credits = 1.0 FYE The common formula to determine a university's total FYE is: (UG_CRHR/30) + (GR_CRHR/20) = FYE ~ Minnesota State


Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Student

Full time equivalent student. It is defined as Undergraduate Credit Hours divided by 15 = 1.0 FTE Graduate Credit Hours divided by 10 = 1.0 FTE The common formula to determine a universities total FTE is: (UG_CRHR/15) + (GR_CRHR/10) = FTE ~ Minnesota State



Goals are outcomes that represent major steps toward achieving the institutional mission and vision. ~ OIEandA


Graduation Rate

The ratio of the number of students who complete a course of study, earning a degree, certificate, or diploma from Metropolitan State University. Students are reported as graduated if they received a certificate, diploma or degree in any previous term at the institution. ~ derived from Minnesota State language H - M



Headcount is the total count of distinct students enrolled for credit including: newly enrolled, continuous enrollment and previously enrolled students. Unless indicated as ""duplicated,"" this count is always unduplicated across the terms of a fiscal year. Duplicated headcount would count the student once for each term they attended during the fiscal year. ~ Minnesota State and Metro Admissions Glossary

Headcount Type

  • New Enrollment: The number of admitted students that enroll into the university by registering for course work within the given semester which they applied. ~ Metro Admissions Glossary
  • Continuing Enrollment: The percentage/number of students that register for course work within a given semester and were enrolled in the previously semester. ~ Metro Admissions Glossary
  • Returning Student: A student enrolled at the university at one point throughout their academic careers and is enrolling within the given semester but was not enrolled in the previous semester (i.e. stop-outs, graduates.) ~ Metro Admissions Glossary


Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

An independent corporation and one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. HLC accredits degree granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central regions, which includes 19 states. ~ HLC Website HLC (see Higher Learning Commission)

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

IPEDS is a system of interrelated surveys conducted annually by the U.S. Department's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). IPEDS requires institutions that participate in federal student financial aid programs to report data on enrollments, program completions, graduation rates, faculty and staff, finances, institutional prices, and student financial aid. ~ IPEDS Key Major or most important; critical to achieving your intended outcome. ~ CPE 2013-14


Key Performance Indicator

A measure of how well an organization is doing in a particular area. A KPI could measure financial performance or customer satisfaction. ~ ASQ


Matriculated Student

Is admitted to the university as a degree-seeking student, registers for at least one credit-bearing course and remains registered through the 10th day of the semester. ~ Metro Admissions Glossary



The criteria or means to which a comparison is made. ~ derived from ASQ



A measure used to describe progress on attaining a goal or objective. ~ OIEandA



An organization's purpose. ~ ASQ


New Enrollment

(see Headcount)


Non-Degree-Seeking Student

Is not seeking to earn a certificate, diploma or degree from this institution and is not eligible for financial aid. ~ Minnesota State



(see Post-Traditional Student)



Objectives can be operational or procedural. Good objectives meet the following criteria 1) Specific 2) Measurable 3) Aggressive but attainable 4) Results oriented 5) Time limited. ~ SPOL


Outcomes (institutional)

The results actually achieved by a system or process, regardless of its objective or targets, and independent of the wishes or expectations of those involved. ~ AQIP 2009

Persistence Rate

This is the percentage of full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students who enroll in the fall term and re-enroll in future terms at the same institution (retained) as well as those who continue their education at another institution (transferred). This is the default for Minnesota State calculations. However, persistence could be examined using a different combination of student characteristics. ~ derived from Minnesota State language


Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA)

A four-step process for quality improvement. Also called the plan-do-study-act (PDSA). ~ ASQ


Post-Traditional Student

Students over the age of twenty-four, enrolled part-time, working full-time and financially independent of guardians have been historically defined as nontraditional. Post-traditional students are already employed in the workforce without a post-secondary credential while balancing educational, work, and life responsibilities. ~ NASPA



An organized group of related activities that together create a result that is of value to stakeholders. ~ AQIP 2009


Prospective student

A person who is identified or considered attending a college or university but has not officially applied or enrolled. ~ derived from Ruffalo Noel-Levitz


Reaffirmation of Accreditation

A determination that an accredited institution is still meeting the requirements of the Criteria for Accreditation. ~ HLC 2015


Record Type

The point in time of the enrollment figures. The census is measured at the 10th day of the term, 30th day of the term, and the 45th day after the end of the term (referred to as 'End of Term'). (There is no 10th and 30th day census for the summer term.) There is also a census measurement on August 31st after the end of the fiscal year; for each term, this 8/31 census is referred to as the 'End of Year' census. In addition to term-based census, there is also a fiscal year-based census, which includes the total across all terms of the year, measured as of August 31st for the fiscal year that ended the immediate prior June 30th.~ Minnesota State



The output of activities directly measurable within the control and influence of the project or process. At Metropolitan State examples would include: student learning and graduation, student/customer satisfaction, financial/budget numbers, employee feedback, service quality, resolution of problems/complaints. ~ HLC 2015.


Retention Rate

This is the percentage of full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students who enroll in the fall term and re-enroll in future semesters. The period of enrollment for retention does not need to be consecutive (if a student is enrolled in term 1, not enrolled or graduated or transferred in term 2, then enrolled in term 3 they are flagged as ""retained"" for term 3). This is the default for Minnesota State calculations. However, retention could be examined using a different combination of student characteristics. ~ derived from Minnesota State language


Returning Student

(see Headcount)


Stands for Specific, Measurable, Aggressive but attainable, Results oriented, Time limited. ~ SPOL



All people or groups that have a critical stake or investment in the institution's operation and future. ~ AQIP 2009


Strategy Forum

A workshop for institutions in the AQIP Pathway to facilitate new strategies and tactics for institutional improvement. ~ HLC 2015


Strategic Planning

The process an organization uses to envision its future and develop the appropriate goals, objectives and action plans. ~ ASQ


Success Rate

Success rate is calculated by adding three measures: retention rate, transfer rate, and graduation rate. Thus, a student is considered successful as long as they are continuing their education or obtain a degree. ~ derived from Minnesota State language


Summer Session

(see Academic Year as defined by IFO Contract)



The ability to address current organizational needs and to have the agility and strategic management to prepare successful for the future. ~ CPE 2013-14



Methodical, well-ordered, and repeatable. ~ OIEandA


Systems Portfolio

A document describing the processes, results, and improvements in each system of the AQIP Categories. It also provides proof the institution is meeting the HLC Criteria for Accreditation. ~ HLC 2015



An identified numerical point or range. ~ OIEandA


Transfer Rate

Measures the percent of first-time degree-seeking undergraduate students who transfer to another institution. A student is counted if they did not graduate but are enrolled at another institution during current or previous terms. Once placed in the transferred category, the student remains in that category for all subsequent terms. However, if a student re-enrolls at Metropolitan State University, the student would not be included in the transfer rate until transferred again. ~ derived from Minnesota State language


Underrepresented Student

An underrepresented student is a student with any ONE or more of the following attributes: student of color, Pell eligible (low income), or first-generation (MN definition - neither parent has any postsecondary education). Postsecondary education without receiving a bachelor's degree would fall under the first-generation federal definition. ~ Minnesota State



The fundamental beliefs that drive organizational behavior and decision making. ~ ASQ


Vision statement

A concise, compelling, and conceptual narrative description of a future state. Used to help keep the organization focused. ~ CPE 2013-14


Yield Rate

The percentage of admitted students that enroll into the university by registering for course work within the given semester which they applied. ~ Metro Admissions Glossary

Source Key

Accelare Inc. Accelare Inc. Blog, Massachusetts
AQIP 2010 Academic Quality Improvement Program, Principles and Categories for Improving Academic Quality, Higher Learning Commission 2010.
AQIP 2009 Academic Quality Improvement Program, Higher Learning Commission 2009.
ASQ American Society for Quality, Quality Glossary.
CPE 2013-14 2013-2014 Education Criteria for Performance Excellence. Baldrige Performance Excellence Program.
HLC 2015 Higher Learning Commission Resource Guide, 2015.
IPEDS Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System
Metro Admissions Glossary Metropolitan State Student Affairs employee onboarding training document in Admissions Office.
Minnesota State Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
NASPA National Association of Student Personnel Administrators
Ruffalo Noel-Levitz Ruffalo Noel-Levitz
SPOL Strategic Planning Online. 2013 SPOL Users Conference, October 20-23, 2013. Florida.
SPAC Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, Metropolitan State University.
OIE&A Office of Institutional Effectiveness & Accountability, Metropolitan State University.