Common Data Set
The Common Data Set (CDS) initiative is a collaborative effort among data providers in the higher education community and publishers as represented by the College Board, Peterson's, part of The Thomson Corporation, U.S. News & World Report and Wintergreen/Orchard House.
The combined goal of this collaboration is to improve the quality and accuracy of information provided to all involved in a student's transition into higher education, as well as to reduce the reporting burden on data providers.
This goal is attained by the development of clear, standard data items and definitions in order to determine a specific cohort relevant to each item. Data items and definitions used by the U.S. Department of Education in its higher education surveys often serve as a guide in the continued development of the CDS.
The CDS files contain information on enrollment and persistence, freshman and transfer student admission, academic offerings and policies, student life, annual expenses, financial aid, instructional faculty and class size, and degrees conferred.