How is Students Who Return After Their First Year calculated on the College Scorecard website? The closest field I can see in the Data Dictionary is ENRL_ORIG_YR2_RT, but that doesn't seem exactly to be it.

I know at least some of the code is available on Github, but I don't know where in the codebase it indicates which fields from the API queries specifically populate which section of the page for a given school. If someone let me know where to look, I could answer these type of questions for myself :)

2 Answers 2


The "Students Who Return After Their First Year" corresponds to RET_FT4 for 4-year institutions and RET_FTL4 for less than 4-year institutions. These variables were created from IPEDS and includes first-year retention information on all first-year full-time undergraduates.

The ENRL_ORIG_YR2_RT was created from the National Student Loans Data System and only includes students receiving federal loans and grants.

  • Thanks, Oliver. I'm revisiting this issue again, and wondering: Where on IPEDS is retention information collected on first-year full-time undergraduates? I don't believe that I've ever reported that. Feb 10, 2016 at 20:36

You are welcome. I believe IPEDS calculates retention rate from cohort information reported Fall Enrollment component during the Spring Collection. For more information visit: https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/resource/survey_components.asp and https://surveys.nces.ed.gov/ipeds/visresults.aspx

Best, Oliver

  • Ok, thanks. The part I couldn't understand would be how they would know if the people were the same people from one Fall to the next, since no personally identifying information is collected. I will get in touch with the Helpdesk. Feb 16, 2016 at 16:30
  • I learned the answer to this - there is a specific question about retention rate on Fall Enrollment but it is only for first-time full-time students. Feb 17, 2016 at 17:56

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