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New Guidelines for Collecting and Reporting Data on Race and Ethnicity

In October 2007, the U.S. Department of Education issued new guidelines for the collection, documentation and reporting of data on race and ethnicity, effective for all reporting by fall 2010.

How has St. Lawrence implemented the new guidelines?

A tri-partite ad-hoc committee met in spring 2008 to identify the next steps for reaching compliance with the new regulations. The committee recommended the following processes for employees and for students, trying to make the data collection as convenient as possible:

  • Employees were resurveyed in connection with the annual address update that the Human Resources Office collects each summer. Affirmative action forms and forms newly hired employees complete with Human Resources were revised to reflect the new race/ethnicity categories and put into place July 1, 2008.
  • Enrolled undergraduate students were resurveyed at the end of the fall 2008 semester through APR (eSaint). When students logged on to APR, the collection form (see below) automatically loaded for students who have not yet submitted this information. A similar process was devised for new incoming/readmitted students in spring and fall 2009 and spring 2010. Beginning with fall 2010, the information was carried over from the Common Application form that was revised to reflect the new race/ethnicity categories. Students with missing records will then be contacted.
  • The Education Department collects the new race/ethnicity information through the graduate application form.

What is new for the data collection?

  1. Institutions are required to use a two-part question when collecting racial/ethnic information, similar to how the Census collects data:
    Question 1. Select ethnicity: Hispanic or Latino (yes or no)
    Question 2. Check one or more racial categories
  2. The racial categories have been expanded from 4 to 5 races, separating the current category Asian/Pacific Islander" into two categories of "Asian" and "Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander".
  3. Institutions are required to maintain detailed information on student and employee responses for at least 3 years (or until completion of any legal action involving these records).

What is new for the data reporting?

  1. For official reporting to the federal and the State Education Departments, institutions are required to report aggregate data using nine categories, where race will only be reported for individuals of non-Hispanic origin.
  2. For official reporting, the reporting of two or more races are allowed (in the past, these individuals had to be reported in the "unknown" category.) However, since the new data collection format encourages the reporting of multiple races, it is expected that more individuals will fall into the "two or more races" categories in the future than they have in the past.
  3. Institutions, however, might decide to summarize the information differently for internal purpose.