The Salem State University fact book includes information that is derived from and aligns with data reported to external organizations such as the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education through the Higher Education Information Resource System (HEIRS). It provides a single-source summary of most of the information in those individual reports.
The factbook reports only the credit-bearing activity of the college, non-credit activities provided by Salem State University are not reflected. It includes data about the entire university but no subunits other than graduate and undergraduate. The intention is to make the factbook available each spring adding annual activity for the previous year and current fall to the trends in the previous factbook.
Institutions have a wide variety of data and information needs. The factbook reflects data from comparable points in time, over time. The data can inform decision-makers by delineating trends as well as providing context and perspective. Today's data collection and retrieval systems provide far more immediate information for operational decisions and the factbook should be used to supplement that data and for providing general information about the university.