Race and Ethnicity
U.S. Department of Education IPEDS Race and Ethnicity Reporting Requirements
The U.S. Department of Education has required that colleges and universities collect aggregate data on student race and ethnicity since 1977. Before 2007, there were five categories by which individuals could classify themselves: American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian and Pacific Islander, Black or African American, Hispanic, and White. In 2007, the Department of Education revised its reporting guidelines and expanded the categories in an effort to more accurately define the rich ethnic and racial composition of our campuses:
The 2007 final guidance allows individuals to self-identify their ethnicity and race, and permits individuals to select more than one race and/or ethnicity. This change authorizes individuals to more accurately reflect their racial and ethnic background by not limiting responses to only one racial or ethnic category, and expands reporting options to seven categories (American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, White, and Two or More Races). The Department recognizes that this change requires additional changes to the education information systems of state agencies, school districts, and postsecondary institutions across the country. (U.S. Department of Education, August 2008)
Required Question Format for Race and Ethnicity Reporting
- Are you Hispanic or Latino?
- Regardless of your answer to the prior question, please select one or more of the following races to indicate how you identify yourself.
_____ American Indian or Alaska Native
_____ Black or African American
_____ Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is everyone in the Claremont McKenna College community required to provide information on race and ethnicity?
- What is the difference between race and ethnicity?
- Why is Hispanic/Latino the only ethnicity option given?
- How have the ethnic identities of students already enrolled at Claremont McKenna been converted to meet the new reporting mandates?
- How do students re-identify their race and/or ethnicity once they have already been reported?
- How long is Claremont McKenna College required to keep the original individual self-identification responses from students?
- If a student responds, “Yes,” to the Hispanic/Latino question, should he or she also answer the race question?
- If a respondent does not answer the Hispanic/Latino question but does answer the race question, how is he or she reported?
- If a respondent fails to respond to both the race and ethnicity questions, how is he or she reported?
Is everyone in the Claremont McKenna College community required to provide information on race and ethnicity?
Claremont McKenna College is required to provide all students and employees with the opportunity to self-identify their race and ethnicity. Though members of the CMC community are not required to respond, the College must collect and report data for all students and employees who are US citizens or resident aliens.
The Department of Education defines race and ethnicity as “Categories used to describe groups to which individuals belong, identify with, or belong in the eyes of the community.” Ethnicity includes shared history, sense of identity, geography and cultural roots which may occur despite racial differences. Race refers to human populations that are distinct due to physical characteristics. Ethnicity is based on the following two categories:
- Hispanic or Latino A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. The term "Spanish origin" can be used in addition to "Hispanic or Latino."
- Not Hispanic or Latino: Any person who does not identify as Hispanic or Latino.
Race is based on the following five categorizations:
- American Indian or Alaska Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.
- Asian: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.
- Black or African American: A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. Terms such as "Haitian" or "Negro" can be used in addition to "Black or African American."
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.
- White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.
Federal reporting requirements dictate that CMC ask only about Hispanic/Latino ethnicity. Claremont McKenna College is required to provide data on self-reported classifications, and thus relies on the respondent to determine if he or she shares cultural, language, and other characteristics of Hispanics or Latinos.
How have the ethnic identities of students already enrolled at Claremont McKenna been converted to meet the new reporting mandates?
CMC converted each individual’s prior ethnic identification code to the closest category in the fall of 2010. In response to the newly adopted two-part question, students who identified their ethnic origin as, “Hispanic,” under the old guidelines were updated in the CMC system as having an ethnic code (part one), “Hispanic or Latino,” and a race code (part two), “Hispanic or Latino.” Likewise, students who identified their ethnic origin as anything other than, “Hispanic,” under the old guidelines were updated in the CMC system as having an ethic code (part one), “Not Hispanic or Latino,” and a race code (part two) that corresponds to their self-identified ethnic origin. For example, a student who selected the ethnic origin, “Black, non-Hispanic,” under the old guidelines is now classified as having an ethnic code, “Not Hispanic or Latino,” and a race code, “Black, or African American.”
Students who wish to modify their self-identified race and/or ethnicity may do so at any time by filling out our Change in Race/Ethnicity webform.
How long is Claremont McKenna College required to keep the original individual self-identification responses from students?
Institutions of higher education are required to keep the individual responses for a minimum of three years for race and ethnic categories and subcategories.
If a student responds, “Yes,” to the Hispanic/Latino question, should they also answer the race question?
Yes. Answering the race question allows respondents to select one or more racial groups with which they identify.
If a respondent does not answer the Hispanic/Latino question but does answer the race question, how are they reported?
In this case, the respondent would be reported under his or her selected race category.
Those who do not respond to either question will be reported as “race and ethnicity unknown.”