Formatting the Cohort File Detail Records

In the cohort data file, you should include three kinds of data:

  • Identifying information about the student
  • The student’s high school graduation and GPA information
  • Information about the student’s enrollment at your institution

The following tables list all of the variables required in each detail record in the cohort data file. We recommend listing the variables in the order in which they are listed in the tables.

Cohort Data File Variables

# Variable Variable Type Format Required Description
1 CH1 Enumerated Yes Indicates the type of data record. Must be the first field in every detail record. Enter D1 for detail records.
2 Cohort Date YYYY-YY Yes Academic year in which the student first enrolled in at least one course. Must match the Cohort value in the course data file. Must be 2 consecutive years between 2000 and today Example: 2019-20
3 Cohort Term Enumerated Yes Term in which student first enrolled in at least one course. Must match the Cohort Term value in the course data file. Valid codes:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
  • Summer
4 Cohort Term Begin Date Date YYYYMMDD Yes Date the Cohort Term began. Year must be between 1900 and today.
5 Cohort Term End Date Date YYYYMMDD Yes Date the Cohort Term ended. Year must be between 1900 and today. Cannot be before or the same as the Cohort Term Begin Date.
6 SSN Numeric 9 digits Conditional Student’s Social Security number. If not available, leave blank and enter the Student ID instead. Required if Student ID is blank. We need either the SSN or Student ID to match the student with degree and enrollment data. Cannot be the same as Student ID.
7 ITIN Numeric 9 digits No Individual Tax Payer Identification Number. Cannot be the same as SSN.
8 Student ID Alphanumeric 3 – 20 characters Conditional Your institution’s ID number for the student. Required if SSN is blank. We need either the SSN or Student ID to match the student with degree and enrollment data. Cannot be the same as SSN or ITIN. Can include: period, apostrophe, hyphen, underscore
9 First Name Alphanumeric Up to 60 characters Yes Student’s first name. Can include: space, period, apostrophe, hyphen
10 Middle Name Alphanumeric Up to 60 characters No Student’s middle name. Can include: space, period, apostrophe, hyphen
11 Last Name Alphanumeric Up to 60 characters Yes Student’s last name. Can include: space, period, apostrophe, hyphen
12 Street Line 1 String 2 – 30 characters Yes Student’s permanent street address. If unknown, enter UK.
13 Street Line 2 String Up to 30 characters No Second line of student’s address, if needed.
14 City String 2 – 20 characters Yes Student’s city of permanent residence. If unknown, enter UK.
15 State Alphabetic 2 characters Yes Student’s state of permanent residence. For US students, enter a valid state code (see Valid State Codes). For students outside the US, enter any other two characters. If unknown, enter UK.
16 ZIP/Postal Code Alphanumeric 1 – 10 characters No Student’s permanent ZIP/postal code. Must include at least one number. Can include a hyphen. Cannot include spaces. For postal codes with spaces, you can remove the spaces or replace them with hyphens.
17 Country Enumerated 2 characters Yes Student’s country of permanent residence (see Valid Country Codes). If unknown, enter UK.
18 Date of Birth Date YYYYMMDD Yes Student’s date of birth. Year must be between 1900 and 10 years ago. If unknown, omit the student from the data file.
19 Ethnicity Enumerated Yes Student’s ethnicity. Enter H for Hispanic, N for Non-Hispanic, or UK for unknown.
20 Race Enumerated Yes Student’s race. Can include multiple values separated by pipe symbols (|) in any order. For example, a student who is Asian, White, and a non-resident alien could be listed as: AN|W|A. Valid codes:
  • A = Nonresident Alien
  • IA = American Indian or Alaska Native
  • AN = Asian
  • B = Black
  • HP = Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
  • W = White
  • UK = Unknown
21 Institution ID Type Enumerated Yes Originating system of the institution ID (OPEID, FICE, NCES, ACT, etc.). Currently, you can only enter OPEID.
22 Institution ID Alphanumeric 8 characters Yes Your institution’s ID. Currently, you can only enter an 8-digit OPEID (6-digit OPEID + 2-digit branch code). If you do not have a branch code, enter your 6-digit OPEID with 00 at the end.
# Variable Variable Type Format Required Description
23 HS Completion Status Enumerated No Student’s high school diploma or equivalency status. Valid codes:
  • A = Adult High School Diploma
  • E = Endorsed/Advanced Diploma
  • G = General Education Development (GED)
  • H = Non-GED High School Equivalency
  • I = International Baccalaureate
  • M = Modified Diploma
  • D = Regular Diploma
  • V = Vocational Certificate
  • O = Other
24 HS Completion Year Date YYYY No Date student earned their high school diploma or equivalency. Must be a year between 1900 and today.
25 HS Unweighted GPA Numeric X.XX No Student’s unweighted high school GPA on a 4-point scale. Does not include weights for advanced placement, honors, or other types of advanced classes. Must be a number between 0 and 4 with up to two decimal places.
26 HS Weighted GPA Numeric X.XX No Student’s weighted high school GPA on a 4-point scale. Includes weights for advanced placement, honors, and other types of advanced classes. Must be a number between 0 and 4 with up to two decimal places. If not available, you may enter the student’s unweighted GPA or leave blank.
# Variable Variable Type Format Required Description
27 First Gen Enumerated No Indicates whether either of the student’s parents has completed a certificate or higher credential at a post-secondary institution. This field is used to populate the First Generation dashboard filter. If this field is populated, you can filter students by first-generation status in the dashboards. Valid codes:
  • N = Neither parent attended college
  • P = At least one parent attended college but earned no credential or degree
  • C = At least one parent earned a certificate
  • A = At least one parent earned an associate’s degree
  • B = At least one parent earned a bachelor’s degree or higher
28 Dual and Summer Enrollment Enumerated No Student was a previous dual enrollment student and/or enrolled in summer work before their first term enrolled with credential-seeking status.
  • DE = Past dual enrollment
  • SE = Past summer enrollment
  • DS = Past dual and summer enrollment
29 Enrollment Type Enumerated Yes Student’s cohort enrollment type. Valid codes:
  • F = First time at institution, non-transfer
  • C = Continuing*
  • R = Re-admit*
  • T = Transfer
*Although normally Continuing and Re-admit students should not be included in the cohort data file, they are still valid codes because they are part of the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) for Enrollment Type. We recommend that you only include students enrolling for the first time and transfer students in the cohort data file.
30 Number of College Credits Attempted to Transfer Numeric XXXX.XX No Number of credits the student attempted to transfer from another institution (whether or not the credits were accepted). If the student is a transfer student but did not attempt to transfer credits, enter 0.
31 Number of College Transfer Credits Accepted Numeric XXXX.XX No Number of transfer credits your institution accepted for the student. If the student is a transfer student but no transfer credits were accepted, enter 0.
32 Math Placement Enumerated Yes Student was college-ready in math upon enrollment based on your institution's math placement policies. If unknown, enter UK. This field is used to populate the English/Math Placement dashboard filters. If you enter UK in the Math/English Placement fields for all students, you will not be able to filter students by English/Math Placement in the dashboards. Valid codes:
  • C = College ready
  • N = Not college ready
  • UK = Unknown
33 English Placement Enumerated Yes Student was college-ready in English upon enrollment based on your institution's English placement policies. If unknown, enter UK. This field is used to populate the English/Math Placement dashboard filters. If you enter UK in the Math/English Placement fields for all students, you will not be able to filter students by English/Math Placement in the dashboards. Valid codes:
  • C = College ready
  • N = Not college ready
  • UK = Unknown
34 Gateway Math Status Enumerated Yes Whether the student is required to complete a gateway math course at enrollment. You may classify more than one course as a math gateway course. If unknown, enter UK. This field is used to populate the Gateway dashboard. If you enter UK in the Gateway Math/English Status fields for all students, the Gateway dashboard will show no data. Valid codes:
  • R = Required
  • N = Not required
  • UK = Unknown
35 Gateway English Status Enumerated Yes Whether the student is required to complete a gateway English course at enrollment. You may classify more than one course as an English gateway course. If unknown, enter UK. This field is used to populate the Gateway dashboard. If you enter UK in the Gateway Math/English Status fields for all students, the Gateway dashboard will show no data. Valid codes:
  • R = Required
  • N = Not required
  • UK = Unknown

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