College Admissions Tool for Colorado

Higher Education Glossary

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Use the Glossary below to help you with Higher Education terms. We also maintain these other glossaries for other topics:

Getting Ready for College Glossary
Financial Aid Glossary
Financial Literacy/Money Management Glossary

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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;
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.
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.
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 pre-requisites; 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;
CCHE - Colorado Commission on Higher Education
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."
CLEP - College Level Examination Program
Earn college credit for passing a subject specific examination. For more information, visit the collegeboard website.
COA - Cost of Attendance
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 apply. Learn 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;

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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.
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.
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."
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 website, Colorado 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.
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. Read more.
HEAR - Higher Education Admission Requirements
HEAR defines the quantity and rigor of high school coursework required to meet entry requirements for students planning to attend any of Colorado’s public four-year colleges or universities. Read more.

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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.
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.

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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)
Open Enrollment (Open Admissions)
the policy of admitting applicants to a college or university, regardless of a student’s previous academic record or grades.
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
Ph.D. - Doctorate Degree
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.
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.
RI - Resident Instruction
Usually described as RI Hours in explaining how many resident credit hours a student attempted and/or completed in a term.
SAR - The Student Aid Report
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. Use this calculator to compare financial aid offers from colleges.
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.
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.
Title 22
Colorado Statute creating and empowering the State Board of Education
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 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”
USDE - United States Department of Education
WICHE - Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education
our website, 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
our website, Read more.
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.