1. Can I get copies of institutional research reports?

    Hard copies and/or computer files of most reports can be furnished upon request. However, since most reports are available online in PDF format, we encourage you to use this feature.

Common Questions

  1. Can I get copies of institutional research reports?

    Hard copies and/or computer files of most reports can be furnished upon request. However, since most reports are available online in PDF format, we encourage you to use this feature.

  2. How many students do we have?

    If your request involves headcount, please be as specific as possible. Headcount figures can be annual or by term; college-wide or by campus; duplicated or unduplicated; credit, non-credit, or overall — we keep track of all of these. Also, please remember to specify if you want headcount, hours (student semester hours or credit hour equivalency), or FTE (full-time equivalency). Depending on why you need the data, knowing the headcount, by itself, may not answer your questions.

  3. How many FTE do we have?

    It depends on the formula you wish to use to calculate FTE (full-time equivalency). Basically, FTE is just a standardized unit of enrollment measurement that can use any of various factors — credit enrollment, non-credit enrollment, headcount, full-time vs. part-time students, etc.

    If you are filling out a survey for an outside agency, you may be given a formula to calculate our FTE that may be different from the formula used by the state. The FTE figure you calculate with the state’s formula may be much different than what we officially report, but this is okay because this method allows outside data users to evaluate institutions on a level playing field.

    Since fall 2004, the official formula for computing FTE in Florida’s College System, as used by the Division of Community Colleges, is (SSH/30) + (CHE/30), where SSH = Student Semester Hours (total credit hours) and CHE = Credit Hour Equivalents (contact hours / 30).

    The formula for non-credit clock-hours has not changed: 1 FTE = 900 Clock Hours.

  4. How far back is data available?

    Some data elements have been tracked only for a couple of years, while others may be available for 10 years or more. Longitudinal data for the majority of key measures exists since the last administrative system conversion (beginning with academic year 1995/96). Contact IR for more information on data availability.

  5. Are there any procedures to follow for conducting research studies at Polk State?

    Yes. However, we use a rather informal procedure for conducting studies at the College. Just provide a study overview including a brief justification via e-mail and get an OK from either your dean or the academic VP. If you forward the approved request to us, we can schedule a meeting to talk about the details.

  6. What do I need to do to get data?

    In order to comply with SACS accreditation requirements and to fill your data request efficiently, it would be best if you send us an e-mail with your request following the same procedure described under 5.

  7. Is there any charge to my department for using your services?

    Typically, no. The only time we would ask your department to pick up part of the tab for our services would be if the cost of materials is prohibitive. For example, if your request requires several thousand pre-printed scannable questionnaires, the cost to our office could be more than we can handle. (Our budget is very limited!) However, rest assured that IR does not charge for office time spent on College-related data requests and simple external requests — that’s why we’re here!

  8. I don’t work for the College, but can I still make a data request?

    Sure! Whether you are a student, outside agency, or just an interested citizen, we will do as much as possible to get you the data you need. Understand, however, that our first priority is to fill internal data requests because such requests are generally made for the purpose of improving programs and services to our students. So please be patient with us, and allow us as much time as possible.

    Also, please understand that some of the information produced by IR can be of a sensitive nature. If we believe that your request is for highly sensitive information that may violate our students’ rights to privacy, such as grade distributions or identification of specific students, we may refer your question to the appropriate administrative office, which will determine if we can fill your request.

    If you are with an external media agency (television or radio station, newspaper, magazine, etc.), please call Polk State’s Public Relations Office at 863-297-1051.

  9. How long will it take to fill my request?

    Many factors are involved here. Depending on the complexity of your request, the workload in the office, the difficulty in getting the information, and the urgency with which you need it, filling your request can be instantaneous or take up to several weeks. It’s always best if you can give us as much lead time as possible in order for us to prioritize tasks. We understand that this is not always possible, and that things often come up at the last minute, but it is always a good practice to file your requests early.