Skip to: Content | Footer

California Postsecondary Education Data Home Page

Frequently Asked Questions


How does CPEC get segmental data? Does CPEC get reports directly from the centralized offices of the segment (UC, CSU, CCC, Independent) or does it get the data from IPEDS?

CPEC obtains data from the public segments [systemwide offices] for enrollment and degrees. Independent institution data comes from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). IPEDS data is also used for all segmental aggregated data. The Department of Education provides K-12 data.

For additional information, visit the Sources and Timing of Data web page.

How does the Commission determine a "First-time freshman" from the available data?

Commission staff use several criteria. Although the criteria vary by segment, the following community college criteria provides some insight to the process:

  • Student Level = Freshmen
  • Enrollment Status = 1 (First-time student)
  • Term ID = 7 or 8 (fall semester or quarter)
  • Age - between 12 and 19
  • Headcount status - A, B, C, F (credit or non-credit

How is the determination made for the transferability of a community college course and its applicability to degree programs at the UC and CSU?

Course transferability depends on the institutions and any articulation agreements that may be in place between the two institutions. An articulation agreement is an official agreement whereby one college or university agrees to accept specific courses or groups of courses from another college or university as satisfying specific course-taking requirements in substitute of its own courses.

"Articulation" in this context is when CSU and UC faculty agree to accept sets of community college courses as having the focus, content and rigor necessary to meet course requirements at the baccalaureate institutions. Formal course articulation agreements generally fall within one of three areas:

  • General education breadth agreements, such as those represented by IGETC
  • Transferable course agreements, such as those approved by the State University in various systemwide degrees
  • Course-by-course agreements, which are generally used to build articulation of lower-division coursework required for a particular major.

You can get more information on transferability of community college courses and their applicability to CSU and UC degree programs through ASSIST (Articulation System Stimulating Interinstitutional Student Transfer) This service displays reports of how course credits earned at one California college or university can be applied when transferred to another. ASSIST is the official repository of articulation for California's colleges and universities and provides the most accurate information available about student transfer in California.

Related Links:

How often is the data collected for the CPEC data search on your site?

Visit our Sources and Timing of Data page for a concise list of data sources, how we collect the data, when we receive the data and when it becomes available on the website. Visit the Custom Data Reports Dates Available page for a list of the range of years for each table used on the website. The Commission website is dynamically driven by our database servers. The instant we update the data on our servers, it becomes available to you, our customers.

I think the number of students from my school that go on to college are greater than reported by CPEC data. Why is there a discrepancy?

There are several possible reasons. Our first-time freshmen data are calculated by selecting students that are 19 years old and younger in their freshmen year of college. The source high schools are reported by the UC, CSU and Community College data centers. Sometimes, the postsecondary institutions are not aware of new high schools. Those high schools might be coded as an unknown high school in a particular county, state or country. We do not follow a cohort of students because the high school and college data cannot be matched. We are not able to identify students from a particular high school that attend out-of-state institutions or private in-state institutions. Some students might have earned enough college credit (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or concurrent college) in high school to start college as a sophomore or junior. These students cannot be identified because of limitations in the data. Therefore they cannot be counted. Students frequently ask to have transcripts sent to a college although they might not enroll for any number of reasons. The count of transcripts (applications) sent will not equal enrollment counts.

I would like to get a mailing list of the colleges in California. Is this possible?

Please see the following link. It is a .csv (comma separated value) file that can be opened in Excel and other spreadsheet and database programs:

If a student attends two or more community colleges, then transfers to UC or CSU, which community college is considered the source institution?

Generally speaking, when there are multiple community colleges, the community college where the student earned the most transferable units is considered the student's source institution.

The Custom Data Reports is difficult to use. How can I get help with the data?

The Custom Data Reports does have a learning curve because it can answer so many questions. Start with the Custom Data Reports Help page. This will answer some basic questions. For greater detail download Navigating the CPEC Custom Report System. This document takes the reader from selecting their criteria to downloading the data to Excel and creating a pivot table.

You can also view a video (about six minutes) to see how easy it is to create a report.

You can always ask us a question if you need help. Send an email to with your detailed question.

View all FAQs.

E-mail a question to Webmaster@CPEC.CA.Gov