Size & Setting Methodology
For a flowchart illustrating the logic of the six all-inclusive Classifications, click here.
Data are from the IPEDS Completions, Institutional Characteristics, and Fall Enrollment surveys corresponding to degree conferrals from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014 (the most recent data available for all institutions) and Fall 2014 institutional characteristics and enrollments, and the College Board Annual Survey of Colleges corresponding to Fall 2014. Because the residential character attribute used in this classification refers to undergraduate students, exclusively graduate/professional institutions were not classified with respect to size and setting.
Level of Institution
Institutions were identified as two- or four-year based on a combination of IPEDS Completions and Institutional Characteristics data. If an institution awarded no bachelor's or higher-level degrees and was designated within institutional characteristics as at the two-year level, it was included among two-year institutions.
Full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment is based on IPEDS Fall 2014 enrollment data, with FTE calculated as full-time headcount plus one-third part-time headcount. For two-year colleges, enrollment is based on all undergraduates. For four-year institutions, it is based on degree-seeking students at all levels. (We found that for some four-year institutions, including all undergraduates led to anomalous results.) Although we endeavored to use equivalent cut points for two- and four-year institutions, we were unable to do so while maintaining a reasonably balanced number of institutions in the final categories.
For four-year institutions with undergraduates, residential character is based on two attributes: the proportion of degree-seeking undergraduates who live in college-owned, -operated, or college-affiliated housing (College Board data) and the proportion of degree-seeking undergraduates who attend full-time (IPEDS enrollment data). When College Board data were unavailable, an approximation was used based on IPEDS data (housing capacity as a percentage of total full-time enrollment).
Institutions with fewer than 25 percent of degree-seeking undergraduates living on campus or fewer than 50 percent enrolled full-time were classified as primarily nonresidential. At the other extreme, institutions where at least half of degree-seeking undergraduates live on campus and where at least 80 percent attend full-time were classified as highly residential. The remaining four-year institutions were classified as primarily residential. It is important to note that "nonresidential" can represent three distinct populations: those who live in neighborhoods close to campus (often in rental housing with other students), those who commute some distance to campus, and those who participate via distance education. Please see this chart for an illustration of the three residency categories.