For over 50 years, the CIRP Freshmen Survey (TFS) has provided data on incoming college students’ background characteristics, high school experiences, attitudes, behaviors, and expectations for college. The survey, created by Dr. Alexander “Sandy” Astin in 1966, has resided at the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA since 1973. To date, over 15 million students at over 1,900 institutions have participated in the survey.
Our mission as a research institute remains to “inform educational policy and promote institutional improvement through an increased understanding of higher education and its impact on college students.”
2020 TFS Registration is now closed. Registration was from March 14, 2020 – October 10, 2020.
2021 TFS Registration opens in early April 2021.
About the CIRP Freshman Survey
The CIRP Freshman Survey is designed for administration to incoming first-year students before they start classes at your institution. The instrument collects extensive information that allows for a snapshot of what your incoming students are like before they experience college. Key sections of the survey examine:
- Established behaviors in high school
- Academic preparedness
- Admissions decisions
- Expectations of college
- Interactions with peers and faculty
- Student values and goals
- Student demographic characteristics
- Concerns about financing college
Many of the items on the CIRP Freshman Survey are pre-test questions that are then post-tested on CIRP follow-up surveys – Your First College Year (YFCY), Diverse Learning Environments (DLE), College Senior Survey (CSS) – providing for longitudinal examination of cognitive and affective growth during college. All CIRP surveys allow you to add questions of your own on the instrument.
Schools participating in the CIRP Freshman Survey receive an institutional profile, which includes your institutional results broken out by sex, full and part-time status, comparisons with other similar institutions, significance testing, effect sizes, CIRP Constructs and Theme reports, a data file of your student responses, a PowerPoint presentation, a Graduation Rate Calculator; and a monograph summarizing the national results.
Administering the Survey
2021 Registration opens in early April 2021. Administration April 2021 to October 10, 2021.
The CIRP Freshman Survey is conducted before students start their college careers, and is available as early as March and as late as October. Most campuses conduct the survey during orientation and allow about one hour for survey administration. The best results occur when the survey is administered in a proctored setting.
The survey can be administered either with your campus managing the email notification process, or for ease of use, you can elect to have HERI manage the email notifications to students. A web survey can be more convenient for both you and your students. Our web portal allows you maximum flexibility in setting email notification and reminder dates, customized, “welcome” and “thank you” pages, customized email notifications, and input of additional questions. Throughout the administration, you can obtain updates on your response rate. Your survey data is available the day after a student completes the questionnaire.
HERI’s Research Team has developed a set of additional questions related to students’ experiences and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic during their last year of high school and as they enter college. Students can provide you with important information about your institution’s planning and response to the pandemic for incoming freshmen, as well as the stressors they’ve experienced during this period. You can learn more about the content and how to utilize the COVID-19-related additional questions for your 2021 CIRP Freshman Survey administration here:
Web Survey Features
- HERI can send customizable email notifications (including reminders) to your students
- Customizable “Welcome” and “Thank you” Screens
- Upload your own additional questions
The Survey Instrument
Important Forms and Documentation
- Administration Guidelines – Necessary information for schools concerning the administration of the CIRP Freshman Survey
- Administration Timeline – Use the timeline to track general tasks required during a survey cycle
- Survey Information Sheet – Copy of the informed consent given to survey respondents
- Student Identifiers – Find out how student identifiers can help you merge data for longitudinal analyses
- Additional Questions – Important information for campuses adding their own questions to the instrument
- School Managed Email Distribution -Instructions for sending your email invitations directly from your institution
- Invitation and Reminder Templates – Sample text for inviting your students to participate
- Welcome and Thank You Text – Editable text for your welcome and thank you survey pages
- Anti-Spam Guidelines – How to prevent survey invitation and reminders from CIRP being filtered out as bulk or junk mail
- Group Codes – Comparing specific subgroups of your student sample
- Confidentiality and Privacy – Protocol for ensuring the confidentiality and privacy of our data and suggestions about how to assure your students that their information is safe
- Encouraging Participation Suggestions for increasing response rates
- Promo Packs Instructions on how to use Promo Packs
- Pre-notification Email Templates Editable text for your pre-notification emails
- Data and Reporting – Descriptions of the institutional data and reporting institutions will receive from CIRP
- UCLA IRB Approval Notice – Copy of the current UCLA IRB approval
You can find the survey fees for your institution by searching on our pricing page.
The combined survey administration and registration fee is calculated based on total full-time equivalent (FTE) undergraduate enrollment (for student surveys) or full-time faculty (faculty/staff survey) with information obtained from the IPEDS database on September 1, 2017. Click here to determine the cost for your institution: https://heri.ucla.edu/pricing/
-Customized Welcome and Thank You Pages: no additional fee
-Additional questions for administration – 20 closed-ended: $350
-Group Codes: no additional fee
-HERI-managed email distribution to students: $375
-School-managed email distribution: no additional fee
HERI uses a two-step process for billing. First, within two weeks of receiving an order to administer one of our surveys from an authorized campus representative, we will send an invoice to that representative or the designated billing contact requesting payment for a $1,000 registration deposit. This registration deposit will be credited toward the total administration cost. Should needs on campus change, please read below to review our cancellation policy.
Second, approximately six weeks before the national administration closes for the CIRP Freshman Survey, we will send a second invoice for the remaining balance associated with the survey administration, including any optional services requested during the administration period (i.e., HERI-managed emails, additional questions on surveys).
The costs for administering HERI’s surveys cover customer service support from HERI’s staff throughout the administration process, the full suite of campus reports (i.e., Institutional Profile Report, Construct Report, Theme Report, Executive Summary PowerPoint), preparation of the final dataset, and targeted consultation to help clarify or explain the results featured in each set of reports.
We will continue to invoice separately for any orders for data services or customized reports placed by authorized campus representatives, and we typically send those invoices within two weeks of fulfilling each order. Additionally, for campuses that have more specific needs related to developing more tailored surveys, generating a more comprehensive, in-depth analysis of their survey data, or creating a more comprehensive assessment of campus climate, HERI staff members are available for more extensive consulting partnerships. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
*Expedited payment is helpful because UCLA charges additional fees after invoices become 90 days past due. If there are delinquency fees on your account, your payment will be applied to these charges first. The unpaid balance on the account will remain past due and will continue to accrue additional delinquency fees. Balances which remain unpaid for several months risk going to collections.
Placing an order indicates your institution’s agreement to participate in the survey. HERI will refund $800 of the $1,000 deposit if a campus informs HERI in writing of its decision to cancel the administration of the TFS by the cancellation cutoff date (August 29). HERI will refund $200 of the $1,000 deposit for orders cancelled after the respective cutoff date. If your institution has received distributed links via HERI’s email system prior to attempting to cancel the order, please refer to the Withdrawal Policy.
If the URL(s) have already been sent to the institution or distributed via HERI’s email distribution service to the sample of intended survey participants, the campus will forfeit the full $1,000 registration deposit. In addition, if HERI has provided any customized services at your request (e.g., incorporated on-line additional questions, etc.), you will also be responsible for the full cost of these services.
2020 TFS Registration is now closed. Registration was from late March 2020 – October 10, 2020.
TFS 2021 Registration opens in early April 2021.