Complete or Correct Your 2024-25 FAFSA/ CASFA Today!


Higher Education Glossary

1-9  A  B  C  D  E  F  
G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  
O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  
W  X  Y  Z


Not finding the definition you want?
Send us an email and let us know what we are missing!



3 - In most cases, refers to SB 10-003, Tuition Flexibility. Temporarily removes statutory provisions providing that the General Assembly annually set limits on tuition increases and replaces those provisions with authority for governing boards to increase tuition, but increases greater than 9.0 percent require approval from the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. To obtain approval for increases greater than 9.0 percent, institutions must provide a 4-year financial and
accountability plan specifying:

• the amount of increase;
• the manner in which the school will ensure access and affordable tuition for low- and middle-income students and disadvantaged students;
• the manner in which the school is implementing flexibility with state fiscal rules; and
• measures the school will implement to ensure service levels and quality academic programs.

23 - Typically refers to Amendment 23, 2000, funding for K-12 education deteriorated after TABOR passed, and Colorado voters responded by passing Amendment 23, which guarantees minimum levels of funding for education. Under Amendment 23, per-pupil funding is required to keep pace with the rate of inflation. Additionally, between 2002 and 2011 an extra one percent is added each year in order to restore cuts.

45 - In most cases, refers to SB 12-045, Reverse Transfer. The bill enables a previous college drop-out to get credit for the degree they earned in the state system of higher education through reverse transfer. Students that acquire 15 credit hours at a community college than transfer to a 4-year institution will be notified when reaching a total of 70 credit hours that they may be eligible for an Associate’s degree at their college of origin. The process (between 2-year institutions, 4-year institutions and CCHE) must be in place no later than the start of the 2013-14 academic year.

52 - In most cases, refers to SB 11-052, Higher Ed Master Plan. This bill sets a new deadline for the CCHE to work collaboratively with the institutions of higher education to complete the statewide master plan for higher education by September 1, 2012.  The bill adds various new goals to be addressed in the master plan, such as increasing the overall number of undergraduate degrees and certificates issued by the institutions, providing support for economic development, and addressing opportunities for students with disabilities.  The CCHE is required to ensure that the master plan and systemwide goals are implemented by negotiating specific and individualized goals for each institution through performance contracts.  The performance contracts are to be completed by December 1, 2012.

53 - In most cases, refers to SB 13-053, Exchange of Student Data K-12 and Postsecondary. Charges DHE and CDE to formally create a procedure to assist college campuses with collecting information required by existing state law. In addition, it enables state departments to collaborate to improve efficiencies in college admission and placement processes. Procedures may include matching data using SASID and related information for high school graduates and students enrolled in concurrent enrollment as well as other integration of data systems.

191 - In most cases, refers to SB 10-191, Teacher Effectiveness. Requires that the State Board of Education (the Board) adopt guidelines for a system to evaluate  the effectiveness of teachers and principals. Requires all school districts and boards of cooperative services (BOCES) to adjust their local performance evaluation systems to meet or exceed the adopted guidelines.  Codifies the State Council for Educator Effectiveness (the Council) and requires that it make recommendations to the Board concerning the implementation and testing of the new performance evaluation system by March 1, 2011. Requires the new system to be implemented statewide in FY 2013-14 and finalized statewide in FY 2014-15. Creates the continuously appropriated Great Teachers and Leaders Fund (GTLF) to receive federal grants for purposes of implementing the act.

212 - In most cases, refers to HB 08-212, read the legislation here. Also see CAP4K

285 - In most cases, refers to SB 09-285, created new Concurrent Enrollment statute and ASCENT, Academic CTE, 5-yr HS plan

529 Savings Plan - 529 plans are more than just savings accounts. These state-sponsored college savings plans were established by the federal government in Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code to encourage families to save more for college. They offer unique state and federal tax benefits you can’t get from other ways to save, making them one of the best ways to save for college. Visit

1023 - In most cases, refers to HB 06S-1023, which declares "It is the public policy of the state of Colorado that all persons eighteen years of age or older shall provide proof that they are lawfully present in the United States prior to receipt of certain public benefits." Research at Michie's Legal Resources.

1024 - In most cases, refers to HB 06-1024, which declares "On or before September 1, 2006, each governing board of a state institution of higher education shall submit to the Colorado commission on higher education and the education committees of the senate and the house of representatives, or any successor committees, a report regarding underserved students..." Research at Michie's Legal Resources.

1057 - In most cases, refers to HB 05-1057, which declares "...a college preparation program operating within the school district that the college preparation program shall provide to the Colorado commission on higher education, on or before December 31 of each school year, a report specifying each student, by unique identifying number..." Research at Michie's Legal Resources.

1155 - In most cases, refers to HB 12-1155, implements best practices in student admission and remedial policies intended to improve student outcomes and completion. Ensures institutions have required tools to accelerate degree completion, align admission and remedial policies to increase timely completion. Improves the Department of Higher Education’s reporting on student outcomes to high schools and school districts. The second portion of the bill contains the “Operations of Private Postsecondary Institutions” legislation originally found in S.B.12-164. This section provides clarity to private institutions regarding authorization and re-authorization process for private institutions in the state and clarifies how the Commission can respond to actions from other state agencies. He changes also helps the Department provide better student services by allowing it to permanently retain student records and allowing a means by which the Department can refund tuition in the event of an unplanned closure. Finally, the legislation allows for better data collection from private institutions that will allow the Department and Commission to build a more complete picture of higher education in the state.

1319 - In most cases, refers to HB 09-1319; See SB 09-285.

1350 - In most cases, refers to HB 12-1350, This bill allows for dependents of military families to receive in-state tuition even if they did not graduate from a Colorado high school so long as they spent at least two years at a Colorado high school.

1364 - In most cases, refers to HB 08-1364, This bill calls for Unified Data Protocol & Student Identifier for Pre-School students; Often referred to as a data collection statute opening up sharing protocols between state agencies.

A.A./A.S. - Associate Degree; Associate of Applied Science or Associate of General Studies; Typically requiring two years or 60 college credits to complete;

ACT - The ACT is a national college admission examination that consists of subject area tests in English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. ACT results are accepted by almost all U.S. colleges and universities. The ACT is administered on five test dates—in October, December, February, April, and June. See their official website.

Accuplacer - A suite of computer-adaptive placement tests that are used as assessment tools at institutions to evaluate the level of course work for a student. Students measured as needing additional course work will be assigned to remediation.

Admission Standard - includes both Freshman and Transfer standard. The freshman standard applies to all in-state and out-of-state new freshmen applicants and to transfer applicants with 12 or fewer college credit hours, except freshmen and transfer applicants who meet one of the admissions standards index exemptions. The transfer standard applies to all degree-seeking undergraduate transfer applicants with more than 12 college credit hours who do not meet one of the exemptions

Admission Window - see window.

AP - Advanced Placement; College level courses taken as a part of a high school program that offers advanced students the opportunity to take courses with more challenging college-level content.  Students who complete courses are eligible to take the exams for college credit at most colleges and universities.

ARRA -The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009; see web page.

ASCENT - (Accelerating Students through Concurrent EnrollmeNT); 5th year program for students prior to high school graduation and who are on schedule to complete 12 credit hours of postsecondary work prior to completion of 12th year. Participants are selected by high school admin and must meet class requirements and prerequisities; House Bill 09-1319, Senate Bill 09-285, Colorado Revised Statutes 22-35-101, State Board Rules 1 CCR 301-86;

B.A./B.S. - Bachelor's of Arts Degree, Bachelor's of Science Degree; Typically requiring four years or approximately 120 college credits to complete;

CAP4K -SB08-212, Preschool to Postsecondary Education Alignment Act; Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids

CASFA Colorado Application for State Financial Aid, see web page.

CCHE - Colorado Commission on Higher Education, see web page.

CCIS - Colorado Consortium for Independent Study, see web site.

CDE - Colorado Department of Education, see web site.

CHEA - Council for Higher Education Accreditation, see web site. As described on their website, CHEA is "A national advocate and institutional voice for self-regulation of academic quality through accreditation, CHEA is an association of 3,000 degree-granting colleges and universities and recognizes 60 institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations."

CHECRA - Colorado Higher Education Competitive Research Authority was created by the General Assembly of the State of Colorado under enactment of Colorado House Bill 07-182, codified at Section 23-19.7-101 through 23-19.7-104, C.R.S. See web site.

CIP - Classification of Instructional Program; The purpose of the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) is to provide a taxonomic scheme that will support the accurate tracking, assessment, and reporting of fields of study and program completions activity. Defintion from NCES

CLEP - College Level Examination Program; Earn college credit for passing a subject specific examination. For more information, visit the collegeboard website.

COA - Cost of Attendence; in the context of financial aid, it is an estimate of what it will reasonably cost the student to attend a given institution for a given period of time; For further information, read the financial aid policy; also see Need

COF - College Opportunity Fund; The College Opportunity Trust Fund was created by the Colorado Legislature and provides a stipend to eligible undergraduate students. The stipend pays a portion of total in-state tuition when a student attends a Colorado public institution or a participating private institution.  Eligible undergraduate students must apply, be admitted and enroll at a participating institution.  Both new and continuing students are eligible for the stipend.  Qualifying students may use the stipend for eligible undergraduate classes. The stipend is paid on a per credit hour basis to the institution at which the student is enrolled. The credit-hour amount will be set annually by the General Assembly.  The statutory authority is found in C.R.S. Title 23 Article 18. Click here to applyLearn more.

Concurrent Enrollment Program - Open to 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th graders who receive academic plan approval, meet application deadlines, and meet college course requirements. 12th graders not meeting graduation requirements and who are held back for instructional purposes may not enroll into more than 9 credit hours for the academic year; House Bill 09-1319, Senate Bill 09-285, Colorado Revised Statutes 22-35-101, State Board Rules 1 CCR 301-86;

CSBE - Colorado State Board of Education, see SBE;

CCODE - Colorado Council of Deans of Education;

DHE - Department of Higher Education, home page.

DPOS - Division of Private Occupational Schools, see web site.

Dually Enrolled - A student enrolled at two institutions at the same time. This may affect enrollment reports when both institutions count that student as enrolled.

EDID - Educator ID; an unique number for Colorado's public school employees. Assigned by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) using the RITS.

EFC - Expected Family Contribution; in the context of financial aid, it is calculated by a federally-approved formula that accounts for income, assets, number of family members attending college, and other information; For further information, read the financial aid policy; also see Need

ESL - English as a Second Language is a method of helping students who do not speak English to acquire it quickly. ESL differs from bilingual education in that there is no use of the student’s native language. Whereas bilingual education uses the student’s native language as a bridge to help the student transition into English, or even helps the student to become fluent (bilingual) in both their native language and English, ESL’s goal is to teach English language only. School districts often favor ESL over bilingual education because it is less expensive (bilingual teachers and teaching materials are difficult to find and are costly), even though research points to more benefits of helping students to become bilingual.

ESP - Extended Studies Program, see web page. Any reference to Exclusive ESP students are those students that are enrolled in only ESP credit hours.

FA - Financial Aid, visit student FA page, or Educators FA page.

FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid; visit the Federal FAFSA website. Keep in mind, this is a free service provided by the Federal government, you will not have to pay to file your FAFSA.

FERPA - Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, view federal website. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. View FERPA brochure.

Floor - In reference to the admission window, the floor is the minimum requirements for admission without requiring an exception of some kind. This usually coincides with the Index score.

Freshman Standard - see Admission Standard.

FSA - Federal Student Aid; Federal Student Aid on the web. Visit their website.

FTE - Full-time Equivalent; a way to measure a student's academic enrollment activity at an educational institution. An FTE of 1.0 means that the student is equivalent to full-time enrollment (30 credits completed in academic year);  An FTE of 0.5 means that a student is equivalent to half-time (15 credits completed in academic year);  This differs from headcount because the calculation is based on credits, not a count of "students-in-seats."

Gallagher Amendment - (1982) The Gallagher Amendment impacts how much Colorado homeowners pay in property taxes. Under the Gallagher Amendment, the portion of residential property that is subject to taxation (called the "assessed value") drops when residential property values statewide grow faster than nonresidential properties. In other words, when home values grow faster than business values, homeowners pay proportionately less. Since 1982, residential property values in Colorado have grown faster than nonresidential properties, causing the assessment rate on residential properties to drop from 21 percent in 1982 to 7.96% today. The assessment rate on Colorado businesses is 29%.

GEARUP - Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs; A Federal discretionary grant program designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. Federal Program websiteColorado GEARUP website;

GED - General Educational Development; It is sometimes referred to as "General Equivalency Diploma", "General Education(al) Diploma" or "high school equivalency." It is a battery of tests that, when passed, certifies the student has high school academic skills. The GED test is a test of equivalency for the high school diploma.

GPA - Grade Point Average; Cumulative average of course work, usually on a four-point scale. A=4.0, B=3.0, C=2.0, D=1.0, F=0.0; High school GPA is reported on high school transcripts and used in admission evaluation. Postsecondary GPA is used for evaluation of transfer students moving from one institution to another.

GRE - Graduate Records Examination; This exam is used to gauge undergraduate achievement and is often required for admission into a graduate program. Visit their website.

GRS - Graduate Rate Survey; Part of the IPEDS data collection process; View IPEDS definition here;

Guaranteed Transfer, GT Pathways - gtPATHWAYS applies to all Colorado public institutions of higher education, and there are more than 900 lower-division general education courses in 20 subject areas approved for guaranteed transfer. Courses are approved at least twice per academic and calendar year and apply the next semester immediately following their approval.

HEAR - Higher Education Admission Requirements;

IB - International Baccalaureate; College level courses taken as a part of a high school program that offers advanced students the opportunity to take courses with more challenging college-level content.  Students who complete courses are eligible to take the exams for college credit at most colleges and universities.

Index, Index Score - This index score is a quantitative evaluation that is part of a larger student application evaluation. The score is generated from academic achievement (GPA or High School Rank) and college placement tests (ACT or SAT). You can calculate your index score online. Index varies by institution depending on that institutions selection criteria.

IPEDS - Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System; Run by NCES, this system collects statistical data and information on postsecondary institutions. The Colorado Department of Higher Education submits aggregated data on public institutions to IPEDS. Website;

Local District Community Colleges - View colleges.

M.D. - Doctor of Medicine Degree; This degree is earned by medical doctors upon completing the requirements at an accredited medical school.

NSC - National Student Clearinghouse; Visit website;

Need - In the context of student financial aid, Need is calculated by the difference between the COA (Cost of Attendence) and the EFC (Expected Family Contribution)


NCES - National Center for Education Statistics; Website;

NCATE - National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education; NCATE is the profession’s mechanism to help establish high quality teacher preparation. Learn more at their website;

NCLB - No Child Left Behind; The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) -- the main federal law affecting education from kindergarten through high school. Research more at the Federal Department of Education.

Pell - Federal Pell Grant; Grant offered by the Federal government where as the amount depends on your financial need, costs to attend school, status as a full-time or part-time student, and plans to attend school for a full academic year or less. For more information see ED.GOV

Perturb - to confuse, disorder, disturb; In the context of data reporting, perturbing is to hide (usually with an asterisk "*") aggregated data that contain such small numbers as to reveal individual achievement. In most cases, this is done to be in compliance with FERPA.

Ph.D. - Doctorate Degree;

PSAT/NMSQT - Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test; Administered by the CollegeBoard, the PSAT is a standardized test that provides practice for the SAT Reasoning test. It also gives you a chance to enter National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) scholarship programs.

PSEO - Post Secondary Enrollment Option; A program that offers concurrent enrollment in college courses while in high school.

PSEP - Professional Student Exchange Program; WICHE's Professional Student Exchange Program enables students in 12 western states to enroll in selected out-of-state professional programs usually because those fields of study are not available at public institutions in their home states. Read more.

PWR - Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness; This definition was created during the SB08-212 CAP4K meetings. Read more.

QIS - Quality Indicator System; Implemented in HB96-1219, the specific quality indicators involved in QIS are similar to those used in the variety of quality indicator systems found in other states: graduation rates, freshmen retention and persistence rates, passing scores or rates on tests and licensure examinations, undergraduate class size, faculty teaching workload rates, and institutional support/administrative expenditures.

RDE - Resource Directory for Educators; See website. The website replaces the previous catalog of courses format and is updated by Colorado's public four-year institutions of higher education.

REP - Regional Education Provider; Colorado Statute authorizes Adams State University, Fort Lewis College, Colorado Mesa University and to function as regional educational providers and “have as their primary goal the assessment of regional educational needs..." Regional education providers focus their attention on a certain geographical area.  See policy IV, part F.

RI - Resident Instruction; Usually described as RI Hours in explaining how many resident credit hours a student attempted and/or completed in a term.

RITS - Record Integration Tracking System; Managed by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE).  This web-based application creates and tracks State Assigned Student Identifier Numbers (SASID).  This web-based application creates an unique number for Colorado's public school employees (EDID).  RITS is accessed via a secure, public internet connection and requires a unique user ID and password. More information

SAR - The Student Aid Report (SAR) summarizes the information you report on your FAFSA. The schools you list on your application can request electronic copies of your SAR and use the information to determine if you are eligible for federal financial aid. View definition.

SASID - State Assigned Student IDentification; Number assigned by the Colorado Department of Education to students enrolled in public primary and secondary education using the Record Integration Tracking System (RITS). Originally Colorado legislation (22-7-603.5) required longitudinal analysis of the CSAP test. The statute requires that "data elements collected and provided by the department, school districts, and individual public schools shall be compatible." Tracking student scores over time and across district lines requires a SASID. More information.

SAT - Administered by the CollegeBoard, the SAT is a national college admission examination and results are accepted by almost all U.S. colleges and universities.

SBE - State Board of Education; As described on their website, "Members of the Colorado State Board of Education are charged by the Colorado Constitution with the general supervision of the public schools. They have numerous powers and duties specified in state law. Individuals are elected on a partisan basis to serve six-year terms without pay." Visit website.

SLDS - State Longitudinal Data System, commonly referred to as "SLEDS"; This is a grant program that awards funding to states to promote healthy data systems in the P-20 environment. Colorado is a participant in this grant program; ." Visit website.

SURDS - Student Unit Record Data System; Visit our data collection page.

TABOR - (1992) Colorado's TABOR amendment restricts revenues for all levels of government (state, local, and schools). Under TABOR, state and local governments cannot raise tax rates without voter approval and cannot spend revenues collected under existing tax rates if revenues grow faster than the rate of inflation and population growth, without voter approval. Under TABOR, the state has returned more than $2 billion to taxpayers rather than using these funds to pay for K-12 education, higher education, transportation, public health services, public safety and other services. In 2005, Colorado voters approved Referendum C, which suspended the revenue limit in TABOR from 2006 to 2010 and modified it for future years.

TEAC - Teacher Education Accreditation Council; The Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), founded in 1997, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving academic degree programs for professional educators, those who will teach and lead in schools, pre-K through grade 12. TEAC’s goal is to support the preparation of competent, caring, and qualified professional educators. Visit website.

TED - Teacher Education; Visit our teacher education page.

Title 22 - Colorado Statute creating and empowering the State Board of Education

Title 23 - Colorado Statute creating and empowering the Commission on Higher Education. See our web page or research at Michie's Legal Resources.

Transcript - an official report supplied by a school on the record of an individual student, listing subjects studied, grades received, etc. This document is important for new and transfer students to establish academic history and course completion.

Transfer Standard - see Admission Standard.

Tuition Classification - Tuition classification is the process by which an institution determines a person's residency status for purposes of charging in-state or out-of-state tuition.

Tuition Classification Officer - The individual designated at each campus that has authority for making tuition classification decisions. Also known as: “Registering Authority”

UAF - Undergraduate Applicant File; One the data files collected through the SURDS.

USDE - United States Department of Education; Visit

WICHE - Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, visit their web site.

WRGP - Western Regional Graduate Program; The Western Regional Graduate Program makes high-quality, distinctive graduate programs available to students of the West at a reasonable cost. Read more.

WUE - Western Undergraduate Exchange Program, Read more.

Window - Defined in Admission policy, "The maximum allowable percentage of admitted students who are not required to meet the CCHE admission standards within a specific fiscal year is referred to as the admissions window. Separate windows exist for
the freshmen and transfer standards. The allowable percentage is determined by the Commission." The percentages vary by institution.