Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
About Data Uploads
Reviewing Your Data
Allowances will be made for special circumstances. For example, if you are able to upload enrollment and demographic data but unable to upload financial support data, you can upload the data you can extract from your institution's data systems, and then complete the financial support information in the GSS Web instrument. Additionally, if you do not have access to CIP codes or are unable to provide them, you can upload your data with GSS codes instead. However, if uploading using GSS codes you will be required to use the taxonomy tool to recode any units affected by the updated taxonomy.
** Student data is required to be uploaded using CIP Codes. In certain, circumstances the GSS codes may be used, but you must make prior arrangements by contacting the Help Desk.
There are several ways to incorporate your Unit Respondents into the data collection. For some coordinators who rely on URs, the student enrollment and demographic data can be uploaded by the coordinator, while the UR can be responsible for reporting financial support data.
Alternatively, you might consider creating your data file with enrollment and demographic data, and then have URs add the financial support information to the data template. Once you have collected these data from your URs, you can upload the complete data file to GSS Web. GSS staff are available to discuss alternative approaches to incorporating URs in your data reporting efforts, if you need their assistance.
Previous GSS data collections were divided into two parts: Part 1 asked you to review, update, and confirm all organizational units eligible for GSS at your institution, and map those units to GSS codes; Part 2 collected the enrollment and financial support information for students, postdoctorates, and nonfaculty researchers in each of those organizational units.
Part 1 has now been eliminated and the organizational unit structure will be derived from data you upload.
The Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) is an academic discipline taxonomy maintained by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). CIP codes are used for the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) data collections, which is mandatory for all institutions that participate in federal Title IV funding. Thus, we believe that most institutions already have information on CIP codes. Detailed information about the 2010 CIP codes can be found as a separate links in the email provided. If you are unfamiliar with these codes, or are uncertain whether or not these codes exist on your campus, you may find it helpful to contact the Institutional Research office on your campus.
Feedback from the July 2016 GSS coordinator survey indicated that a large majority of respondents were aware of, and had access to CIP codes for the students enrolled in GSS-eligible programs. A majority also indicated that reporting the GSS data by CIP codes would require less effort on their part.
If CIP codes are available for the postdocs and/or NFRs, report the data using the CIP codes. However, the postdocs and NFRs in units that do not grant degrees may not have CIP codes. You can build your postdoc and NFR upload data file using either CIP codes and/or GSS codes.
You should report counts of students based on the highest eligible degree in which a student is enrolled during the Fall of the reporting year. Each student should be reported to GSS only once.
Doctoral degree students are enrolled in a GSS eligible Ph.D. (or equivalent) program.
Master's degree students are enrolled in a GSS eligible MA, MS (or equivalent) programs and are not enrolled in another GSS eligible doctorate program.
See the GSS-CIP Crosswalk, which can be found in the survey menu, for eligible CIP codes and degree exclusions.
- If a student is in a doctorate program in which the student will earn a master's degree along the way to a doctorate OR if a student is enrolled in a doctoral and master's degree in the same unit, report the student as a doctoral student.
- If a student is enrolled in a doctorate program in psychology and in a master's degree program in biostatistics, report this student as a doctorate in psychology only, as it is the highest eligible degree and students should be counted only once.
- If a student is enrolled in a doctorate program in History (ineligible for GSS) and a master's degree program in Populations Studies (GSS eligible), report this student as a master's degree student in Populations Studies unit, as it is the highest eligible degree.
- Similarly, MD/PhD (or MD/master's) students should be reported in their GSS eligible doctoral (or master's) degree program as MD is not an eligible degree for GSS.
If a student is enrolled in multiple eligible degree programs at the same level (e.g., two master's programs or two doctorate programs in GSS eligible fields), count the student in their primary degree program only. If a primary degree program cannot be established, please report under only one of the GSS eligible programs.
If you have questions about how to splitting counts of master's and doctoral students at your institution, please contact GSS Help Desk at (866) 558-0781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you decide to manually enter data for a subset of your school (Postdocs or Nonfaculty researchers) the "Generate Units" button on the Screener Page pulls over those units that contained that particular data type from the prior year.
For a graduate program to be eligible to be reported to the GSS the CIP code that is assigned to the program must be listed in the GSS-CIP Crosswalk. If the CIP code is not listed in the crosswalk the program should not be reported to the GSS.
The easiest way to ensure that all students in the GSS eligible programs are included in the survey is to use the "SQL SELECT" Statement to query your institutional database.
About Data Uploads
There are two ways to upload your GSS data:
OPTION 1: Upload a file of de-identified individual-level records with their corresponding student enrollment, demographic, and financial support data, and/or postdoc/NFR data.
OPTION 2: Use the Excel Aggregation Macro provided to convert individual-level data to a unit-level data format, and then upload the unit-level data file.
To create the student file, you should query your student information system to identify all graduate students enrolled in GSS-eligible CIP codes. You can find these codes in the GSS-CIP Crosswalk, which can be found on the survey menu. We have also provided a sample "SELECT" statement, which can be found on the data templates page in the survey menu, that lists all eligible CIPS that you can adapt for use in your query.
This is a unique identifier number for each individual included in the GSS upload data file that you can create to help you with the data checks later, if needed. This ID should not be based on any personally identifiable information (e.g., student ID, social security number). The person_id could be as simple as a sequential number generated for each individual (1, 2, 3, ...) you are reporting to GSS.
By maintaining a crosswalk between the person_id and the personal identifier your institutional data systems use (e.g., student or employee ID), you will be able to identify which individuals were included in what unit, and check their data if problems are found in the uploaded data, or we have questions about data changes in your uploaded data from the previous year data.
Due to the elimination of Part 1, the organizational unit structure will be derived from the data you upload through a matching process that compares the unit name you upload this year to the unit names you reported last year. To increase the accuracy of the unit name matching process, we request that you provide the unit names that are stored in the institutional database you use to report your student enrollments (or postdoc employment).
The Unit ID will allow us in subsequent data collections to match your units for data comparisons even if the Unit Name changes throughout the years. The Unit ID can be alphanumeric and should be whatever is listed in your institutional systems. If your institutional system does not contain a Unit ID field, you should create a unique Unit ID that you can use each year for data reporting. Please note that each unit reported should have a unique Unit ID.
GSS will not retain or use any individual level data from the uploaded file. Once individual-level data are uploaded, they will be aggregated into GSS unit levels before you submit the data to NSF.
Instead of uploading an individual- level file (Upload Option 1), you can aggregate your individual-level data to a unit-level file prior to upload the GSS data. To help you do that, we have created a macro-enabled Microsoft Excel file that converts an appropriately formatted individual-level data to the unit-level data and save the output as a comma separated values (.csv) file, the format needed for GSS upload data tool.
If you encounter any difficulties in or are concerned about downloading the data template with aggregation macro, please contact the GSS Help Desk at (866) 558-0781 or email@example.com.
If you have any questions about which upload method to use, how to create an upload file, or the navigation of the upload process, please contact the GSS Help Desk at: (866) 558-0781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please do not send us data on all graduate students enrolled. First, this will cause the upload process into the system to be very slow. It may also lead to additional follow-up at the end of data collection to discuss any ineligible programs that were uploaded. Instead, use the GSS-CIP crosswalk, found on the survey menu, to identify GSS eligible CIP codes to include in your upload.
Please do not remove or rename any of the column headers contained in the templates. If any of the headers are missing or misspelled the upload will fail.
As precaution whenever data is manually edited after upload the system will prevent a subsequent upload. This is to ensure that manually edited data is not accidentally overwritten by another upload. If you need to upload again make sure that the manual edits to the data are accounted for in the new upload and then contact the GSS Help Desk at 866-558-0781 or email@example.com to unlock the survey.
Postdocs and NFRs in medicine (51.1201) must be reported by GSS code because the GSS codes are more detailed than the CIP code in this case.
Reviewing Your Data
Unlike previous years, you will only be able to compare data at the school and GSS Code level. The web instrument will notify you of large increases or decreases in student enrollment and/or postdoc/NFR employment at your school compared to what was reported last year. You will also see warnings if a GSS code was reported last year, but not this year.
This is occurring because many of the uploaded files will contain new Unit Names that will break the link between the current and historical data collections. After your data is submitted, the help desk may reach out to clarify differences between the unit names you provided this year and what has been previously reported.
The use of CIP codes when uploading your data allows the system to automatically map the CIP codes to the appropriate GSS codes. It's possible if a unit at your institution uses multiple CIP codes the codes could map to multiple GSS codes. This will create a separate reporting unit for each unique GSS code associated with your unit.
If you uploaded data that is not GSS eligible (such as an MA program in a CIP code where only doctoral students are eligible, or a unit that is not in an eligible CIP code) these units will appear as ineligible. Please review these units, located near the bottom of the Unit Status Menu.
Some may be ineligible because of errors in creating the data file, others because an ineligible unit was accidentally included in the upload. If there are units that you believe should be eligible but are listed as ineligible, please contact the helpdesk.
We have attempted to make the GSS Web Survey accessible to a variety of equipment and software. However, these pages will look best if you use an up-to-date Web browser. If your browser is more than six months old, some pages may not look as good as they could, and some features may not work. You can download free versions of many current browsers over the Internet. We do not recommend any one piece of software. The following sites offer downloadable browsers:
- Firefox Firefox (version 3.0+)
- Microsoft's Internet Explorer (version 6.0+)
- Google Google Chrome
- Apple's Safari
These signals indicate submission status of each department or program. A blue circle means no data has been entered. A red circle with an exclamation point means the data entered contains errors. A yellow triangle means a record has incomplete preferred fields. You can submit the record as it is, but we prefer that you review it and, if possible, provide data. A green circle with a check mark means the data is complete and ready to submit.
If you are the school coordinator or postdoc coordinator, you may return to the GSS Web Survey and make revisions and updates until you click on the "Submit to NSF" button on the Unit Status Menu page. If you find that changes are needed after submission to NSF contact us at 1-866-558-0781 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a unit respondent, usually you may return to the online GSS Web Survey and make revisions and updates for a unit until you click the "Submit" button for that unit on the Unit Status Menu page. Once you submit a unit to your coordinator, you can no longer change your answers for that unit. The coordinator can contact the help desk to request access for you again.
Sometimes a school or postdoc coordinator will lock a unit before you submit it to him or her. This will prevent you from changing your answers. To unlock your unit, contact your coordinator.
A thank you message appears on your computer after a successful final submission and you will also receive an email acknowledging data receipt. As a further check, the GSS Web Survey converts to a read-only mode upon final submission.
Click on the "Download Data" link in the survey menu. Choose the data that you want to data type and years you want to download.
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