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Terms and Acronyms

List of terms used in our reports.

  • A-G Courses – Most students satisfy the UC admissions Subject Requirement by completing 15 yearlong high school courses. Seven of the courses must be taken or validated in the last two years of high school. The “a-g” subject areas include: (a) History/Social Sciences – 2 years; (b) English – 4 years; (c) Mathematics – 3 years; (d) Laboratory Science – 2 years; (e) Language other than English – 2 years; (f) Visual & Performing Arts – 1 year; (g) College Preparatory Elective (as described in the application) – 1 year
  • Academic Year (AY) – Two full semesters, starting in the fall and continuing into the spring; does not include summer.
  • Acceptance Rate – The percentage of applicants who are offered admission to a degree-granting program at UC Merced. Sometimes called Admit Rate.
  • Accrediting Agencies –Agencies that establish operating standards for educational or professional institutions and programs, determine the extent to which the standards are met, and publicly announce their findings.
  • Admit Rate -Percentage of applicants who are admitted. Sometimes called Acceptance Rate.
  • Admitted Student – An applicant who is offered admission to a degree-granting program at UC Merced.
  • Admitted by Exception (A by E) - Students who are not eligible for admission may be admitted by exception if they show unusual promise and potential. Typically, less than 6% of admissions will be A by E.
  • Advanced to Candidacy -Graduate student whose degree objective is academic or professional doctorate, and student has been advanced to candidacy (enrolled 6 or fewer semesters).Doctoral students can advance to candidacy when they have completed all the requirements for the doctoral degree except the dissertation. This entitles them to reduced fees since they are no longer taking classes.
  • Auxiliary Enterprise – Includes self-supporting operations of the institution that exist to furnish a service to students, faculty, or staff, and that charge a fee that is directly related to, although not necessarily equal to, the cost of the service. Examples are residence halls, food services, student health services, and college stores.
  • Census Date - The official reporting date for institutional data. Provides a statistical portrait of the institution at a fixed point in time. There are a number of census dates during the year for the collection of different types of information, e.g. enrollment counts, personnel counts, financial statements, or graduation reports.
  • Class Level -
    • Freshman (undergraduates who have completed between 0 and 29.9 semester units)
    • Sophomore (undergraduates who have completed between 30 and 59.9 semester units)
    • Junior (undergraduates who have completed between 60 and 89.9 semester units)
    • Senior (undergraduates who have completed at least 90 semester units)
    • Second Baccalaureate (undergraduates who already have a bachelor’s degree and are pursing a second degree)
    • Master’s (graduate students whose degree objective is an academic or professional master’s)
  • Cohort – A group of individuals (in this case, students) who went through the same experience or event at the same time. A cohort does not necessarily progress at the same rate.
  • College One - UC Merced’s campus-wide general education program.
  • Common Data Set (CDS) – A collaborative effort among data providers in the higher education community and publishers such as the College Board, Peterson's, and U.S. News & World Report. The CDS is a set of standards and definitions of data items rather than a survey instrument or set of data represented in a database. 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.
  • Continuation Rate - Percentage of students who remain enrolled from one period of time to another, regardless of class level.
  • Conversion Ratio - Conversion ratios are used to convert year-average headcount into FTE and vice versa. Summer headcount is not included. Conversion ratios are based on an academic year average of student course load. They are calculated by taking the ratio of FTE to headcount for undergraduates and graduates separately, but capping the ratio at 1.0. Therefore, FTE for budgeting purposes cannot be greater than 1.0.
  • County of Origin - California County of high school, community college or 4-year college last attended by student. Out-of-state and international students are identified by their respective state or country.
  • Doctoral Students -
    • Doctoral 1 (degree objective is academic or professional doctorate but student has not advanced to candidacy)
    • Doctoral 2 (degree objective is academic or professional doctoral and student has been advanced to candidacy for 6 or fewer semesters)
    • Doctoral 2A (Doctoral 2 student who has been enrolled for more than 6 semesters as Doctoral 2 (advanced to candidacy)
  • Domestic Student - Students who are US citizens, permanent residents or refugees.
  • EEA (Eligibly by Examination Alone) -Students who achieve specified high scores on standardized tests may be admitted as freshmen by EEA.
  • ELC (Eligibility in the Local Context) - Students in the top 4% of their high school class who complete 11 of the 15 required “a-g” courses (see A-G in this glossary for definition) by the end of the 11th grade are considered to be eligible for UC freshman admission under the ELC path. Students who are ELC do not need to meet the eligibility index, but must take the SAT Reasoning Test or ACT Assessment plus Writing and two SAT Subject Tests and satisfactorily complete all 15 required courses by the end of their senior year of high school.
  • Eligibility Index - The UC Eligibility Index is a score that is calculated based on an applicant’s SAT Reasoning Test scores or ACT plus Writing exam scores and their GPA's in the “a-g” courses they took in high school.
  • Eligibility Rate - The proportion of California public high school graduates who meet the eligibility requirements of the University of California.
  • Elapsed Time to Degree - Total number of semesters between the time student entered the university and the date the degree is awarded, regardless of number of semesters officially enrolled.
  • ESC (Eligibility in the Statewide Context) - This is the path by which most students enter as freshmen into the University of California. ESC students must receive a high school diploma (from an institution with a regional accreditation) or equivalency and satisfy the Subject, Examination and Scholarship requirements as described in the application for admission.
  • Ethnicity – Categories used to describe groups to which individuals belong, identify with, or belong in the eyes of the community. The categories do not denote scientific definitions or anthropological origins. Ethnicity is typically a self-reported demographic item.
  • Ethnic/Racial Classification – A racial or ethnic category that is chosen by the student. International students (non-resident aliens) are not classified by racial/ethnic category, but may be included in the total number of students when calculating percent minority.
  • Fact Book – The UC Merced Fact Book captures and summarizes much of the important current and historical information about UC Merced. The Fact Book is intended to serve as a reference for information about the College’s faculty, students, alumni, personnel, facilities, and budget.
  • Fees - Student Fees included educational and nonresident fees (tuition), as well as fees for university registration, health services, transportation, student life, associated students, recreation, student health insurance. 
  • Fiscal Year (FY) – A 12-month period running from July 1 through the following June 30. Fiscal years are designated by the year in which the FY ends rather than the year the FY begins.
  • FTE (Full Time Equivalency) – A numerical measure used for reporting purposes. Part-time students, faculty, or staff are converted to their full-time equivalence and then added to their respective full-time category.
  • FTE Employee (Faculty and/or Staff) – A numerical designator for an appointment based on 100% for full-time. An FTE for a full-time employee is 1.00. (For example, two people each serving in half-time positions would equal, together, one FTE position. A part time employee working three-quarters time is 0.75 FTE.)
  • FTE Student - To calculate the number of full time equivalent (FTE) students, for lower and upper division undergraduates, a full-time instructional load is considered to be 15 units per semester (30 per year). For graduate students, a full-time instructional load is considered to be 12 units per semester (24 per year). Graduate students who have been advanced to candidacy for 6 or fewer semesters are considered full-time and have an FTE value of 1.0. Graduate students who have been advanced to candidacy more than 6 semesters, are counted as 0 FTE.
  • FTE Summer - Summer FTE's are computed on the basis of credit units. To calculate the number of full time equivalent (FTE) students, summer credit hours for undergraduates are divided by 30 semester units to yield summer FTE. For graduate students, summer hours are divided by 24 semester units.
  • Full-Time Graduate Student – To categorize graduate students as full-time for tuition/financial aid purposes, a graduate student enrolled in 8 or more credits is full-time. 
  • Full-Time Undergraduate Student – To categorize undergraduate students as full-time, for tuition/financial aid purposes, a student enrolled for 12 or more credits in that semester is considered full-time.
  • General Campus - All programs not included in health sciences.
  • Graduate Professional – For general campus enrollments, graduate professional students are those pursuing master’s level degrees in professional schools and programs.
  • Graduate Student – A student who holds a bachelor's or first-professional degree, or equivalent, is taking courses at the post-baccalaureate level, and is admitted to a graduate program.
  • Graduate Student Categories -
    • Academic doctoral students (students pursuing academic doctoral degrees - usually the Ph.D., but also the Ed.D. Most plan to pursue academic or research careers)
    • Academic master's students (all master's level students in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts and engineering)
    • General campus graduate professional students (all students pursuing professional degrees on the general campus (e.g., J.D., M.B.A.) are classified as master's students)
    • Healthscience professional students (students pursuing professional degrees such as M.D., D.D.S., or other health-related "professional doctorates," such as the Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.)
    • Health science residents (graduate students, mostly in medicine, pursuing post-degree training required for licensure.
  • Graduation Rate -Graduation rates measure the success of those students in completing their degree program. They usually are expressed in terms of the percentage of students in a cohort (e.g., Fall 2005 new freshmen) who graduate within a certain timeframe (e.g., 4 years, 5 years, 6 years). Graduation rates are affected by student characteristics, choices, and behaviors and by institutional characteristics and programs.
  • Headcount – Count of individuals (e.g., students, staff, faculty), regardless of their full-time or part-time status.
  • Headcount versus FTE - Headcounts count each student, whether carrying a full or partial load, once. FTE, or full time equivalent, is a measure used for budgeting purposes where students are counted in terms of their proportion of a full-time instructional load.
  • Health Science versus General Campus - Health Sciences are programs in health-related fields such as medicine, dentistry, public health and veterinary medicine within Health Science Schools. Although most Health Science enrollments are in professional degree programs (e.g., M.D., D.D.S.), some are in academic programs such as the Ph.D. General campus includes all non-Health Science programs.
  • Health Sciences - Professional programs in Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Optometry, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine, Public Health, and associated graduate academic programs.
  • Home Location - Based on California county, US state or foreign country location of last school attended when student applied for admission - See also County of Origin.
  • IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) – The core post secondary education data collection program in the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). It was designed to help NCES meet its mandate to report full and complete statistics on the condition of post secondary education in the United States. It is a single, comprehensive data collection system developed to encompass all institutions and organizations whose primary purpose is to provide post secondary education. The IPEDS system is built around a series of interrelated surveys to collect institution-level data in such areas as enrollment, program completions, faculty and staff, and financing.
  • International - Students who hold student, exchange, visitor, or diplomatic visas. International students are required to pay nonresident tuition.
  • Ladder Rank Faculty - Faculty who are on a tenure-track career path or who have been awarded tenure.
  • Limited Status - Students whose special attainments qualify them to take certain courses in the University toward a definite and limited objective. These students must either have a bachelor’s degree (but not be a candidate for an advanced degree) or have completed a substantial amount of college work with a satisfactory grade point average.
  • Long Range Development Plan (LDRP) - A long range development plan is defined as a "physical development and land use plan to meet the academic and institutional objectives for a particular campus or medical center of public higher education" (Public Resources Code of the State of California 21080.09). A LDRP is not a commitment to specific projects or to a particular implementation schedule but a general guide that discusses future land use patterns and development of facilities, roads, open space and infrastructure. In compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), an LDRP is accompanied by a separate Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The EIR comprises a detailed discussion of the current setting of the campus and the potential environmental effects of implementing the planned campus growth. The EIR also presents mitigation measures for all significant unavoidable impacts to the environmental as well as alternatives to the proposed project.
  • Marginal Cost -The State provides funding for each additional FTE student added to the University's budgeted enrollment level based on an amount known as the marginal cost of instruction. The calculation reflects the State subsidy provided toward the cost of education as well as the portion of this cost that is paid from student fees. The marginal cost calculations includes funding for faculty salaries and benefits, teaching assistant salaries, related instructional support such as clerical and technical personnel, supplies and equipment, libraries and other academic support, student services, institutional support and maintenance of new space. In 2007-08, the State share of the marginal cost will be $10,586 per FTE student.
  • Nonresident alien – A 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.
  • Nonresidents - Students whose legal permanent residence (as determined by the University) is outside the State of California. Nonresident students are generally required to pay nonresident tuition.
  • Participation Rate - The ratio of California high school graduates who enroll at the University of California.
  • Post Doctoral (PostDocs) - A temporary research position held by an individual who has completed their doctoral studies.
  • Professional differential fee - An additional fee assessed students in specified graduate professional degree programs (e.g., business, law, medicine, public policy). Fees differ by program.
  • PSOE (Lecturer with potential security of employment) - A full-time faculty position which focuses on teaching, professional activities plus university and public service. These individuals are not evaluated based on their research activities.
  • Research Assistant (RA) - A graduate scholar employed on a temporary basis to perform research
  • Readmit - Students who are apply and are readmitted to UC Merced after a voluntary absence or academic disqualification.
  • Referral Pool - Not all students may be admitted to the UC campus(es) to which they have applied. Freshman applicants who are UC-eligible and have not been admitted to any of the UC campuses to which they applied are placed in a referral pool and offered the opportunity to enroll at an alternate UC campus. The referral pool applies only to California residents.
  • Registered Time to Degree - Number of semesters a student actually is enrolled between date of entry and date of degree being awarded.
  • Regularly Admitted Students - Undergraduates admitted to UC because they meet the eligibility requirements established by the Academic Senate for freshmen and transfer admission. 
  • Resident - Students with a legal permanent residence (as determined by the University) in California. California resident students pay resident (in-state) tuition/fees.
  • Resident alien or other eligible non-citizen – A person who is not a citizen or national of the United States and who has been admitted as a legal immigrant for the purpose of obtaining permanent resident alien status. Includes permanent residents, refugees, and asylees.
  • Retention Rates – Retention rates are a measure of academic progression of a group of students from one period of time to the next. They usually are expressed in terms of the percentage of students in a cohort (e.g., Fall 2005 new freshmen) who were re-enrolled as of a certain period of time (e.g., after 1 semester, after 1 year, etc.). Retention rates are affected by student characteristics, choices, and behaviors and by institutional characteristics and programs.
  • Self-Supporting - Certain graduate degree programs within the University which cover the cost of their operations and receive no state funding. Enrollments in these programs are not budgeted.
  • School - UC Merced School responsible for a set of academic degree programs: School of Engineering, School of Natural Sciences, School of Social Sciences, Humanities, & Arts.
  • Second Baccalaureate - Students who are college or university graduates and whose objective has changed substantially after receiving the bachelor’s degree. These students are subject to the general requirements for the bachelor’s degree and to the particular requirements of the School in which they are enrolled.
  • SOE - A lecturer who has security of employment which has the permanence of a tenured position.
  • SIR - Statement of Intent to Register. Undergraduate applicants who are admitted to one or more campuses of the University of California must indicate to which campus they want to matriculate. The mechanism for this is to sign a Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) when they also submit their deposit. The SIR deadline is typically May 1st for new freshmen and June 1st for new transfers.
  • Special Status - Students aged 21 years or older who have not had the opportunity to complete the full requirements for admission or who have not completed a substantial amount of college work, but for reason of special attainment or background may be prepared to undertake certain courses at UC Merced toward a definite and limited objective.
  • Student Faculty Ratio – The ratio of full-time equivalent students to full-time equivalent instructional faculty. The budgeted student-faculty ratio provides one component of the quantitative basis for State funding. For budgeting purposes this ratio is currently set at 18.7 students to 1 faculty member. (Resources for one entry-level faculty member’s salary and benefits and related support are provided for every additional 18.7 budgeted student FTE. The actual student-faculty ratio is calculated using actual year-average FTE enrollments and actual year-average I & R (Instruction & Research) teaching faculty.
  • Student Level - Lower Division (Undergraduates who have completed between 0 and 59.9 semester units); Upper Division (Undergraduates who have completed at least 60 semester units); Post baccalaureate (Students holding a baccalaureate degree whose sole objective is an elementary or secondary teaching or other school credential); Master’s (Graduate students currently working toward a master’s degree, a certification credential, a non-doctoral first professional degree, such as J.D., M.B.A., or who have no degree objective); First Doctoral (Graduate students working toward an academic or professional doctorate who have not been advanced to candidacy); Second Doctoral (Graduate students working toward an academic degree who have been advanced to candidacy).
  • Teaching Assistant (TA) - An individual employed on a temporary basis to perform or assist in teaching-related responsibilities including tutoring; holding office hours; grading homework or exams; assisting faculty with a large lecture class by teaching students in recitation, laboratory, or discussion sessions.
  • Take Rate – Percentage of Admitted students who enroll. Also referred to as Enrollment Rate or Yield Rate.
  • Transfer - Transfer applicants are students who have enrolled in a regular term at a college or university after leaving high school. Students who meet this definition cannot disregard their college record and apply as freshmen.
  • Tuition - See Fees
  • Underrepresented Minorities - In California, the underrepresented minorities include: American Indian/Alaskan Native, African American, and Hispanic. Nationwide, underrepresented minorities typically include those mentioned above as well as Asian American.
  • University of California Undergraduate Experience Survey (UCUES) - An online survey of UC undergraduates conducted periodically in the spring. Undergraduates are asked a common core of questions about time use, student development, academic engagement, and background characteristics (demographics). Upper-division undergraduates with declared majors are also asked to evaluate various aspects of their major.
  • Year-Average Headcount - Average of Fall and Spring headcounts; does not include Summer headcount.
  • Year-Average FTE - May or may not include Summer FTE; will be labeled accordingly.
  • Yield Rate – The percentage of admitted students who accept the offer of enrollment and are enrolled on the Census date (15th day of classes). Also referred to as the Take Rate or Enrollment Rate.