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Data Dictionary – Program Information

FICE | Program Name | CIP Code | Calendar


The Cost Study uses FICE codes as a method of assigning unique identifiers to participating institutions. While FICE codes were replaced by OPE ID and then the Federal School Code List, the study retains the practice of using 4-digit, and occasionally 5-digit, FICE codes in order to link historical records. Current participants can determine their FICE by logging into the web portal, and new institutions can continue to use their FICE code by looking at the last 4 digits of their code from the Federal School Code List. Please contact ire-cost@udel.edu if you would like to confirm your FICE before registration.

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Program Name

You may assign the desired program name to the programs that your institution is including in the data submission. However, the data entry form in the web portal will display both the name that you assigned to the program and the official program name that corresponds with your programs’ CIPs.

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CIP Code

The Cost Study classifies instructional program specialties within educational institutions based on the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) taxonomy, which was developed by the National Center for Education Statistics. Where possible, institutions should report at the 6-digit level in decimal format (e.g., 50.0409). If there is difficulty disaggregating programs within a specific disciplinary area, there is a general CIP Code level that should be used. Institutions may also report at the 4- or 2-digit level.

For CIPs with a leading zero, do not include the zero (e.g., use 1.1001 rather than 01.1001).


  • Within the CIP Code family 51.XXXX, we ask that you exclude programs if they reside exclusively in a medical school or college. We do accept Nursing, Pharmacy, Allied Health, and other similar programs, which typically reside outside of a medical school or college
  • You may include Military Science programs so long as they contain instructional activity and have their own instructional budget.


  • In Engineering, CIP Code 14.XXXX, you will be asked to provide data for those engineering disciplines at your institution. Suppose you had five engineering programs – agricultural, chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical. You would provide data for five discrete CIP Codes, i.e., 14.0301 (Agricultural Engineering), 14.0701 (Chemical Engineering), 14.0801 (Civil Engineering, General), 14.1001 (Electrical and Electronics Engineering), 14.1901 (Mechanical Engineering), etc. Institutions with different engineering departments would report data for the appropriate 6-digit engineering CIP codes. This pattern should be repeated across all curricular areas.
  • If your Department of Foreign Languages offers French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Greek, and Latin, and you cannot cleanly disaggregate teaching workload and cost data into each of these disciplines, simply report the data as “Linguistic, Comparative, and Related Language Studies and Services,” CIP Code 16.01.
  • If a disciplinary area provides no “general” option, and you cannot cleanly disaggregate to a specific curricular area, you may choose to report a 2-digit CIP code, e.g. Engineering Technologies And Engineering-Related Fields would be CIP Code 15.

The 2021 cycle of The Cost Study is following the 2020 updates to the CIP taxonomy. If you have previously participated in The Cost Study, and these changes affect your institution’s CIPs, please contact us at ire-cost@udel.edu before you complete your data submission so that we can work with you to make the necessary adjustments.

Special Note for SUG Users: Members of the Southern Universities Group and a number of other institutions and consortia have asked to benchmark at the 6-digit CIP level. All participating institutions are encouraged to provide 6-digit CIP codes in as many instances as feasible to help accommodate these special data requests. Those data will then be rolled up to the 4-digit level, at which all institutions will be benchmarked, when producing the national norm reports.

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When your institution is given access to the current study year, your entire institution will be designated as being on a semester or quarter/trimester (based on publicly available information). However, individual programs can be manually adjusted using the data upload file or on the data entry form in the web portal.

If a single program is on both a semester and quarter calendar (e.g., the undergraduate degree programs are on a semester calendar but the graduate degree program is on a quarter calendar), please notify ire-cost@udel.edu to ensure that we make the appropriate adjustments in our metric calculations.

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