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University of Illinois: Champaign-Urbana, Chicago, Springfield

Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs

Race and Ethnicity: U.S. Department of Education Guidelines
for Post-Secondary Institutions

In response to U.S. federal and state agencies that require demographic data, the University of Illinois collects information on the race and ethnicity of its students and staff. The U.S. federal government has established a new guideline by which the University will report race and ethnicity data in a different format beginning Fall 2010. The guidelines also allow individuals to select more than one race if they choose to do so.

On October 19, 2007, the U.S. Department of Education posted to the Federal Register the "Final Guidance on Maintaining, Collecting, and Reporting Racial and Ethnic Data to the U.S. Department of Education." The proposed changes are necessary for the Department to implement the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) 1997 Standards for Maintaining, Collecting and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) requires educational institutions to use a two-part question. The first question is whether the respondent is Hispanic/Latino. The second question asks the respondent to identify one or more races with which he or she identifies. The ED's final guidance requires separating the category "Asian or Pacific Islander" into two separate categories, one for "Asian" and one for "Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander", and broadens the definition for "Native American and Alaska Native" to include original peoples of North and South America (including Central America).

Please visit the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Race/Ethnicity Info Center Web page for more detailed background information.

Questions

 

Questions and Answers

Which members of the University community provide this information?

  • The U.S. federal reporting requirements are for U.S. citizens, resident aliens and other eligible non-citizens only. If the respondent is not a U.S. citizen, resident alien or other eligible non-citizen, the U.S. federal government requires the individual to be reported as a Nonresident Alien, regardless of ethnicity or race.

What is the difference between ethnicity and race and where did the definitions come from?

  • Ethnicity - a term which represents social groups with a shared history, sense of identity, geography and cultural roots which may occur despite racial difference.
    • Hispanic or Latino - A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.
  • Race - a human population considered distinct based on physical characteristics.
  • The definitions were provided by the U.S. Department of Education. The University is required to use these definitions for U.S. federal reporting. More information can be found here.

Why must the University of Illinois change its current practices to ask about both ethnicity and race?

  • The University is mandated by U.S. federal requirements.
  • Per U.S. federal reporting requirements, if a respondent checks "Yes" to the Hispanic/Latino question, then that individual will be reported to the U.S. federal government as Hispanic/Latino. The respondent checking "Yes" to Hispanic/Latino may also take the opportunity to select one or more race categories.

What are the major changes in collection and reporting practices?

  • The U.S. Department of Education (ED) requires educational institutions to use a two-part question. The first question is whether the respondent is Hispanic/Latino. The second question asks the respondent to identify one or more races with which he or she identifies. Currently, the University collects information using a one-part question and does not give individuals the opportunity to identify with more than one race.
  • The ED's final guidance requires separating the category "Asian or Pacific Islander" into two separate categories, one for "Asian" and one for "Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander" and broadens the definition for "Native American and Alaska Native" to include original peoples of North and South America (including Central America).

Do current students and staff have the opportunity to re-identify race and ethnicity and what are the consequences if ethnicity and race are not reported?

  • The U.S. Department of Education encourages institutions to allow current students and staff to re-identify their race and ethnicity. The University plans to begin the re-identification of current students and staff in March 2010.
  • It is in the employee's best interest to provide this information. The University of Illinois, as a federal contractor, is required to maintain and analyze data on the gender, race and ethnicity of employees in compliance with the provision of Executive Order 11246. More information can be found here.

What will happen to an individual's record if he or she does not complete the survey asking for race and ethnicity in the new categories?

  • The University will transition current race and ethnic information in Banner into the new categories as shown in Table 1.


Table 1Table 1

How is the information collected and how is it reported to the U.S. federal government? What happens if an individual selects more than one race?

  • The University will collect and report race and ethnic information as shown in Table 2. The respondent can now select more than one race if he or she identifies with multiple races.

Table 2
Table 2

If a person responds "Yes" to Hispanic/Latino should he or she also answer the race question?

  • Yes, even though that person will be reported to the U.S. federal government as Hispanic/Latino.

If a person responds "Yes" to Hispanic/Latino how does he or she answer the race question?

  • The respondent should select one or more of the racial groups in which he or she considers himself or herself to be a member.

Why is Hispanic/Latino the only ethnicity option given?

  • Federal reporting requires that respondents are asked only about Hispanic/Latino ethnicity. Because the University is instructed to provide data on self-reported classifications, the University relies on the respondent to determine if he or she shares cultural, language, and other characteristics of Hispanics.

If a respondent does not answer the Hispanic/Latino question but does answer the race question how is he or she reported?

  • The respondent is reported based on his or her response to the race question which, by default, assumes "No response" to the Hispanic/Latino question.

Are persons from Spain considered to be of Hispanic ancestry?

What is the implementation schedule?

  • By August, 2009, applications for admission and employment were modified to include the new race and ethnicity questions. Between March and June, 2010, all current students and staff will be invited to and given the opportunity to re-identify race and ethnicity information in the new format. Starting Fall, 2010, the University will begin reporting race and ethnicity in the new categories, with all reports converted to the new format by Fall, 2011.

How long are educational institutions required to keep the original individual responses from students and staff?

  • Institutions are required to keep the individual responses for a minimum of three years for race and ethnic categories and subcategories.

Does the University of Illinois have a Nondiscrimination Statement?

Presentation on Changes to IPEDS Race and Ethnicity Reporting

Contact

377 Henry Administration Building, MC-348
506 South Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801, USA
Tel: 217-333-3077
Fax: 217-244-3173