Common Data Set (CDS)
The Common Data Set (CDS) is a principal source for information on institutional characteristics used by popular surveys on higher education. The CDS has been developed through cooperation among several major national publications and colleges and universities. It is an effort to minimize the impact on institutions due to the enormous workload involved in answering numerous voluminous questionnaires, and to improve data compatibility by standardizing some of the information requested by the various surveyors. The CDS uses precise definitions, which may or may not match our own institutional definitions. Through shared definition of each data element, the CDS data should be consistent with, and therefore comparable to, CDS data that other institutions provide.
Each fall, Institutional Analysis obtains the latest CDS data template and collects the needed information from the appropriate university offices. Whenever possible, rather than contact those offices each time surveys arrive, Institutional Analysis responds directly using the information from the CDS. Common Data Set definitions can be found at the end of the CDS document.
*These documents are in PDF format. For older versions, contact this office.