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Common Data Set (CDS)

To reduce the amount of time and effort required to respond to duplicate questions on multiple surveys, publishers and the education community collaborated to produce a standard format (the Common Data Set) to capture most of the requested data. Questions and definitions used by the U.S. Department of Education in its college surveys are a guide in the development of CDS items. Common Data Set items undergo broad review by secondary schools and two-and four-year colleges.

The Common Data Set is organized around 11 topics: (A) general campus, (B) enrollment and persistence, (C) first-time, first-year (freshmen) admissions, (D) transfer admissions, (E) academic offerings and policies, (F) student life, (G) annual expenses, (H) financial aid, (I) instructional faculty and class size, (J) degrees conferred, and (K) definitions.