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Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP)

The CIRP is a product of the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA. It is sponsored by the American Council on Education and the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA. It has been administered to freshmen across the country for 35 years. Over 400 colleges and universities use this instrument. Swarthmore has participated since 1971. This survey is not administered through COFHE, however we do participate in data exchanges through both COFHE and HEDS. In addition to this comparative data, HERI also produces an annual report called "The American Freshman" which contains national norms by sex, race, and type of college. This program has generated a tremendous amount of research over the years.

At Swarthmore the survey is administered through the Deans office and is given to new students by RA's during the first few weeks of classes. The response rates have been quite variable recently. For example, in Fall 1999 we had a 57% response rate and in Fall 2000 we had an 82% response rate, with no changes in how it was administered. Traditionally, the response rates have been in the 70% range. Two things that have probably helped keep response rates up is that we do not request students to provide their social security numbers on the form (there is a space there) and that we do not add local questions, an option at the end of this already long and busy survey form. Data are generally returned to the campus by the vendor in the winter.