Statistics Book

Data sources and definitions

Stanford University Statistics for 2012-13 provides a historical summary of the people and resources at the core of Stanford University’s programs. Ten years of history are presented; in general, financial data are reported through 2011-12, while student and faculty data are shown through 2012-13.

These items, except for the two consumer price indices, are ratios or percentages constructed from data in sections I through V. They are summary measures that can do two things. First, they illustrate trends that can get lost in the large amounts of data in other tables. Second, they can help to illuminate whether management decisions are producing positive impacts on the factors related to the continued success of the University. These are not the only summary measures that could be constructed from the data, nor are they necessarily the most important ones, particularly at the administrative unit, school, or department level. Readers are encouraged to think of their own critical performance indicators and use the data in sections I through V to calculate them.

Students and Degrees

Enrollment data are based on matriculated and non-matriculated students enrolled at Stanford as of the end of the third week of Autumn quarter for each academic year. This point in time has been used for reporting purposes at Stanford since the early 1960s. For internal reasons it is the earliest time that an accurate count of registered and enrolled students can be taken; in addition, this timeframe fits the timing requirements for federal and state reports.

In the enrollment tables each student is counted only once as either a matriculated undergraduate, a matriculated graduate, or a nonmatriculated student. Students who are working towards co-terminal bachelor’s and master’s degrees are counted as matriculated graduate students if they have reached graduate status by completing 180 units or 13 quarters. A student pursuing more than one major is also counted only once. Undergraduates are counted in the first alphabetical major in which they are enrolled. Students who have not declared a major are shown separately. Graduate students are counted in the department of their highest-ranking degree program (where PhD is top-ranked, then DMA, JD, MBA, MS, and MA).

The degree tables contain information on the number of degrees conferred over four quarters: the previous summer and the first three quarters of the listed academic year. Hence, the degrees shown for 2008-09, for example, include those awarded in summer of 2008 and autumn through spring of 2008-09. This period of time is used because federal agencies ask that the degree information reported to them cover the period from July 1 through June 30.

The tables of degrees by school present counts of unique degrees. When an undergraduate graduates with two majors both leading to a single BA (or BS or BAS), this is considered a single BA (or BS or BAS); as in the enrollment tables, each such student is counted in the school of their first alphabetical major. When an undergraduate has one major leading to a BA and another leading to a BS, these are considered two degrees, and are both counted in the appropriate school(s). Degrees for graduate students are somewhat different: while an undergraduate can receive no more than one BA degree, a graduate student can receive two MA (or MS, PhD, etc.) degrees. These are considered distinct degrees, and are both counted in the appropriate school(s). Finally, the table of degrees by major presents counts of majors, rather than degrees. Here, an undergraduate with two majors is counted once per major, even if both majors lead to a single degree.

Data on enrollment and degrees in this report are derived from PeopleSoft Student Administration, the student information system of record starting in Autumn of 2001.

Faculty and Staff

The faculty tables contain information on the Professoriate, a group that is defined at Stanford as:

Appointed faculty are counted as of September 1 of an academic year. For example, all faculty members holding appointments as of September 1, 2005 are included for 2005-06. Each faculty member is counted once. Faculty members holding multiple appointments are counted in the department of their primary appointment. Faculty members on leave or serving as senior administrators (President, Provost, Dean, etc.) are counted in their primary departments. These data are computed from the PeopleSoft: FAAS (Faculty Affairs/Academic Secretary) Events database, which is updated by the University Faculty Affairs Office.

Staff data are tabulated from the University’s payroll records. Active, non-teaching staff members holding continuing appointments (over six months long) of at least 50% time as of the December 15 payroll are counted. Like faculty, non-teaching employees are tabulated on a headcount basis. The figures include professional librarians and research staff (Research Associate and the like) in addition to non-academic employees in managerial, clerical, technical, service, or maintenance positions at the University. No student employees are counted. As with faculty, employees who are on leave, either paid or unpaid, are included in the tabulations. Staff employees in all auxiliaries and service centers are included. The numbers do not include staff employed at Stanford University Hospitals or SLAC.

The non-professorial teaching staff data are also tabulated from the University’s payroll records. This group is defined as:

Non-professorial teaching staff are often hired on a part-time basis, sometimes only for a single academic quarter. There is likely to be substantial variation in the headcount across the academic year. The headcount and full time equivalent (FTE) are provided from the October 15 payroll snapshot of each year. Unpaid affiliates were not included in the payroll system prior to 2005-06, so they are not included in the table before that year.

Financial Aid and Tuition

The dollar amounts given for undergraduate financial aid are actual expenditures (Stanford funds) or receipts (outside funds) for the entire academic year. They are compiled annually by the Financial Aid Office from PeopleSoft Financial Aid. Figures indicating proportions of students are also based on the entire academic year. A student is counted as “aided” (in the appropriate categories) in an academic year if he or she receives financial aid (in those categories) in one or more quarter of University attendance in that year. Thus, an undergraduate student can be counted in more than one category.

Data for graduate financial aid are tabulated from the Graduate Financial Support (GFS) and Financial Aid components of PeopleSoft. As with the undergraduate aid data, the computed figures cover the entire academic year. It should be noted that financial aid data from student records may not agree precisely with information tabulated from the University’s financial system. There are several reasons this can occur, including the fact that some financial aid is not paid through the University; this aid is not recorded in Oracle Financials.

This section includes the only table in this compendium (other than Consumer Price Index data in Table VI-1) containing information from sources outside the University. These outside data include mean family income, taken from U.S. government data (Census Bureau), and average costs at other major private universities, tabulated from COFHE (Consortium on Financing Higher Education).

Sponsored Activity

The annual figures on grants and contracts are taken from three sources:

It is important to note that the dollar figures for new awards and new proposals are not annualized; many of these proposals or awards are for multi-year projects. Similarly, many active projects are also multi-year. This means that it is incorrect to consider expenses in a year divided by the number of active projects in that year as a measure of average grant or contract size. Additionally, while it can be tempting to compute ratios of awards to proposals in a given year as a measure of success in obtaining grants, this is also incorrect. Awards are given after a fairly substantial lag, and awards in one fiscal year are typically connected with proposals submitted in an earlier year.

The data in this section are for all sponsored activity. Sponsored research is a large percentage of these amounts, but sponsored instruction and some other types of activity are included as well. Thus, these figures will differ from reports focusing on sponsored research alone.


The data in this section are taken from Stanford’s Annual Financial Report, Oracle Financials, and the Office of Research Administration. Expenses are attributed to various units based on the department codes in the many separate accounts in Oracle Financials.