The goal of the Common Data Set is to
improve the quality and accuracy of information provided to prospective
students and their parents. A collaborative effort between data providers in
higher education and publishers such as the College Board, Peterson's and U.S.
News & World Report, the Common Data Set is a set of clear, standard data
items and definitions rather than a survey instrument.
The Common Data Set provides
information on the following topics: General information; enrollment and
persistence; first-time, first-year (freshman) admission; transfer admission;
academic offerings and policies; student life; annual expenses (tuition, fees,
room and board); financial aid; instructional faculty and class size,
student-to-faculty ratio; and undergraduate degrees conferred by area of study.