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Race/Ethnicity Reporting

Federally Mandated Change to Collecting and Reporting Race & Ethnicity

Effective during the 2009-2010 academic year, federal regulations require all institutions of higher education to change how they collect and report data on race and ethnicity. As a result, all faculty, staff and students currently enrolled at the University will be asked to complete a two-question survey related to ethnicity and race.

Responding to the Survey Questions

This survey will continue to display in your browser each time you access LEO Online until you complete the survey by declaring your ethnicity and race or you elect to click on the last option "Decline to Report." It is possible to pass through the survey without responding but the survey will be presented to the user each time the self-service system is accessed.

Current data on file collected through the student admission or employment application process will be maintained as long as the survey remains incomplete.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is ODU asking me for information about my race/ethnicity when I have already reported it?

The Higher Education Opportunity Act, passed August 14, 2008 (www.ed.gov/policy/highered/leg/hea08/index.html), requires all institutions of higher education to collect and report data on race and ethnicity in a new way.

What will change?

Under the new federal requirements, institutions must use a two-question format:

1. What is your ethnicity*?
___ Hispanic or Latino
___ Not Hispanic or Latino

*When declaring your ethnicity, please refer to the following information:
You should answer the first question about ethnicity either "Hispanic" or "Not Hispanic."
Hispanic/Latino includes persons of Cuban, Mexican, Chicano, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

  1. What is your race*?
    The second question asks for your race or you may opt to decline to answer the question. You may select one or more races: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, White.

    We hope that you will respond accurately, as inaccurate reporting of ethnicity and race can adversely impact state and federal reporting. Persons with multiple racial identities may select all appropriate categories.

*When declaring your race, please keep the following definitions in mind:
American Indian or Alaska Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.
Asian: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand and Vietnam.
Black or African American: A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa or other Pacific Islands.
White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East or North Africa.

Under the requirements of the federal Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which collects this data for the government, respondents are encouraged to answer both questions as it is critical to reporting race and ethnicity uniformly for the student population across the United States.

How will the new required questions change what we know about race/ethnicity?

Data collected the new way will not be comparable to the old IPEDS categories, which allowed the selection of only one race category: Black-non-Hispanic; American Indian or Alaskan Native; Asian or Pacific Islander; Hispanic; White; Non-Hispanic; Other.

This data only captured the individual's primary racial identity and does not allow individuals to report multi-racial or multi-ethnic identities. The new survey allows individuals to report several racial identities at once as well as an Hispanic ethnic identity and other racial identity.

Why did the U.S. Department of Education decide on this new approach to reporting of ethnicity and racial identity?

According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are multiple reasons for their decisions (www.ed.gov/policy/highered/leg/hea08/index.html). First, it was mandated by the Office of Management and Budget because the federal government wants to improve reporting of race and ethnicity so that data about the U.S. population can be uniformly collected. Second, the DOE intends to stop double reporting of people who identify with multiple races. Finally, this will make the data comparable to the U.S. census statistics. The U.S. Census Bureau has used the Hispanic/Latino question for nearly a decade.

Is this change mandatory?

Yes. The change to the new categories is now law (Higher Education Opportunity Act). (www.ed.gov/policy/highered/leg/hea08/index.html)

Must the University always report using the IPEDS guidelines?

Old Dominion University must follow IPEDS rules for federal reporting.

When will ODU incorporate the new questions?

Federal reporting of statistics about students and employees using the new two-question format of data collection and the new reporting categories became mandatory in 2010-2011. Admissions applications for all new students contain the new two-question format.

When and how will current students, faculty and staff be given an opportunity to self-identify using the new categories?

Beginning November 13, 2009, members of the ODU community were asked to review, confirm and update as appropriate, their racial/ethnic information based on the new categories, in LEO Online (www.leoonline.odu.edu). The survey period ended October 31, 2010.

I made a mistake when I entered my ethnicity and/or race. How can I correct it?

You can enter the correction under the Personal Information link in LEO Online. The correction link will return the survey questions to you for updating.