Back to Main    
Skip Navigation Links
Frequently Asked Questions

For Private Institutions new to the SURDS data collection
Last updated January 25, 2013


1) What is SURDS?

SURDS is a web-based data collection for institutions of higher education to submit student level data to the Department of Higher Education.

SURDS URL, click here
History of SURDS, click here
SURDS File Documentation (public), click here

2) How do I get a username and password?

Contact Maggie Yang ( at the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

After successfully logging into the system, click "ADMIN” on the menu. Please change your password, update your e-mail, title and name, and set up a security question and answer. This will allow you to recover your password at a later time.


1) Which files do I need to submit and when are they due?

For private degree granting institutions, there are only two annual data submissions required in the data collection calendar.

February - Student Enrollment File (Calendar Year 2012) - Private Institutions
August - Degrees Granted File (Full Year)

2) Which students do I include on the file?

For full selection criteria, please read the File Description for the specific file you are submitting. Documentation is located here -

For private institutions based in Colorado, the population collected includes all students enrolled

For private institutions based outside of Colorado, the population collected includes only those students enrolled that reside in Colorado

3) My institution is not a Colorado-based institution, but we have students in Colorado. Which students should we submit?

For private institutions based outside of Colorado, the population collected includes only those students enrolled that reside in Colorado.

4) My institution does not have traditional terms or quarters. We have continuous enrollment that allows students to start at any time. How do I determine which students to include?

See specific questions under ENROLLMENT FILE and DEGREE FILE for details on the reporting time period.

5) What is the file format of the file?

Files may have an extension of .TXT or .CSV. Files may be submitted in two formats:

  • Fixed Length Format – text based file whereas each column (field) accounts for a specific length
  • Comma Separated File (CSV), also known as Comma delimited – text based file where each column (field) is separated by a comma
6) Can I submit an EXCEL file?

No, Excel files are not accepted formats able to be accepted by SURDS. However, converting your column based Excel file is relatively simple. If the file contains one field value per column, the file may be saved as a CSV using the File – Save As menu option in Excel.

7) The field documentation shows REPORT PERIOD as one field but contains both REPORT TERM and REPORT YEAR. How do I submit this on the file?

For a fixed length file format, put the fields in the order they are specified. No special instructions.

For a CSV file format, separate the term and year into separate columns. They should be delimited.

8) Will DHE submit private institution data to IPEDS?

No, DHE will not be submitting any data from private degree granting institutions to IPEDS.

9) When I login, I do not see any degrees listed for my institution in the "Approved Degrees" listing. Why are they missing?

The "Approved Degrees" list available in SURDS and publicly ( are the degrees for which we have information for those institutions participating in SURDS. For private institutions new to the SURDS data collection, please submit your list of degrees offered at your institution. To do so, please use the "Approved Degree Template (xls)" posted on the Documentation ( page.


1) In the Documentation, I see several "Enrollment" files listed, which one applies to my institution?

Refer to the enrollment documentation labeled "ENROLLMENT (EFFECTIVE SUMMER 2012)” for setting up your collection. The ENROLLMENT file is an older file and the documentation is left for historical purposes. The STUDENT COURSE ENROLLMENT does apply to private institutions at this time.

2) Which students do I include in the file submission?

The data reported on the student enrollment file should represent final term enrollment data for students enrolled in courses awarding credit. Put another way, any student enrolled in a course that remains enrolled long enough to be awarded a grade.

If they did not earn a grade because the course was in progress, exclude them for the file submission. If they did not earn a grade because they failed or dropped late beyond the census date, then include them in the file submission.

3) What is meant in the file description by FINAL TERM ENROLLMENT DATA?

By final term enrollment data, it is intended to mean final grades for the term/quarter, not final enrollment of their career or at time of degree. No students should be included that are "In Progress” in a course or for a term/quarter that is currently in session.

4) What is the CALENDAR YEAR and how do I apply my terms/quarters/enrollment into that time frame?

For a traditional semester schedule, it would include Spring, Summer, Fall. For example, for Calendar Year 2012, it would include Spring 2012, Summer 2012 and Fall 2012.

For a quarter schedule, use terms Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. If the Winter quarter bridges two calendar years, use the Winter term that ends in the calendar year collection. For example, if terms range from Nov 2011-Jan 2012 and the following year from Nov 2012-Jan 2013, use the term ending in the calendar year of the collection. In this example, for calendar year 2012 collection, use term that ranges from Nov 2011-Jan 2012.

For continuous enrollment, include students that complete a course enrollment during the Calendar Year (January to December). For example, Calendar Year 2012 should include any student completing a course after January 1, 2012 but on or before December 31, 2012.

5) What is Tuition Classification and how does apply to our institution?

Tuition Classification is used to represent students taking courses eligible for state funding. For private degree granting institutions, this distinction is not required. Use Tuition Classification code "3" for unclassified.

6) How are credit hours reported?

For private degree granting institutions, use Credit Hours Other to report credit hours. RI (Resident Instruction) is defined in the state FTE policy, section V of DHE Policies ( and does not apply to private institutions not participating in the College Opportunity Fund (COF).


1) What are the terms/quarters or dates to be including in the file submission?

The Full-Year or Academic Year uses a traditional academic calendar from July through June.

For a traditional semester schedule, it would include Summer, Fall, Spring. For example, for Academic Year 2013, which is 2012-13, it would include Summer 2012, Fall 2012, and Spring 2013.

For a quarter schedule, use terms Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.

For continuous enrollment institution, include students that earn an award during the Academic Year (July to June). For example, Academic Year 2013, which is 2012-13, includes any student earning an award after July 1, 2012 but on or before June 30, 2013.



1560 Broadway, Suite 1600 Denver, CO 80202 | 303-862-3001  |   Accessibility  |   Privacy & Security