Managing The Transition From CIP 2000 to CIP 2010 Codes In SEVIS This resource provides helpful background on managing the transition from CIP 2000 to CIP 2010 codes in SEVIS, which is planned as part of SEVIS Release 6.6. That release was originally scheduled for implementation on October 29, 2010, but on October 28, 2010, SEVP sent the following message to SEVIS users, notifying them of a delay in the implementation of SEVIS 6.6:
"This message is to inform you that the Production environment implementation of SEVIS Release 6.6 has been postponed and therefore, will not occur on Friday, October 29th as previously communicated. This delay is necessary in order to address an issue that is negatively impacting performance of the Release 6.6 version of SEVIS during test and evaluation. The risk of a post-deployment remedy would be too burdensome so the decision has been made to delay the implementation of Release 6.6 to resolve this issue. Further details regarding the new implementation date will be provided via a follow-up notice next week. Please direct any questions to the SEVIS Help Desk either via phone at (800) 892-4829 or via email at mailto:[email protected]"

This practice resource was developed by NAFSA's International Student and Scholar Regulatory Practice Committee and its International Student Services Subcommittee.

What are CIP Codes?

The Department of Education's Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) is a list of categories, titles, and numeric codes for fields of study. CIP is the basis for the tracking and reporting of fields of study and program activity required by the Department of Education, and may be used for other institutional purposes as well.

Links: CIP overview:

Department of Education required reporting:

What is the Relationship Between CIP Codes and SEVIS?

SEVIS uses CIP codes to identify primary major, secondary major and minor fields for F-1 students, and subject/field codes for J-1 Exchange Visitors. Schools and programs that use RTI choose the CIP codes when they choose a primary major, secondary major, or a minor in RTI (or choose a subject/field for J-1 Exchange Visitors). Schools that use batch transmit the CIP code to SEVIS when a record is created or an edit is made to program or subject/field information.

When Do CIP Codes Change?

The Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) revises the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) approximately every 10 years. Currently, SEVIS only uses codes that are included in the 2000 version of CIP.

However, a new version, CIP 2010, has been released. Beginning this fall, institutions must use fields of study and their associated codes from the CIP 2010 listing in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) reporting that is required by the Department of Education.

Many schools made the switch to CIP 2010 in coding their majors, minors, and other programs in the months leading up to the fall 2010 semester, and others are currently making the change.

Of course, institutions do, for various reasons, make changes to the CIP codes assigned to individual programs from time to time. However, the transition to CIP 2010 requires some changes and also provides an opportunity for institutions to re-examine CIP code assignments and decide whether CIP 2010 offers new options that would be better matches for particular programs of study.

When Will SEVIS Start Using CIP 2010 Codes?

Currently, SEVIS uses codes from CIP 2000, and can only accept CIP codes that appear in the CIP 2000 list. After SEVIS 6.6 is implemented, SEVIS will only accept CIP codes that appear in the CIP 2010 list. (SEVIS 6.6 was originally scheduled for October 29, 2010, but implementation has since been delayed. However, if the code assigned to a student's field of study changes because of the change to CIP 2010, the "old" code will appear in SEVIS in "Event History."

How Do Institutions Assign CIP Codes to Fields of Study and Who is Responsible for Making the Change from CIP 2000 to CIP 2010?

Each institution has a "keyholder," who has the ultimate responsibility for IPEDS reporting and who will generally need to approve assignment of specific CIP codes to the institution's programs of study. However, other offices may be involved as well. For example, the Office of the Registrar may be involved in suggesting CIP code assignments.

In general, the keyholder and others involved in CIP code assignments will consider how well the CIP description matches the program of study as well as impacts on longitudinal reporting and on institutional practices.

How Can I Find Out Who My Keyholder is?

Start with your registrar's office. Staff in that office probably provide the keyholder with the enrollment data that the IPEDS surveys require, so the registrar's office should be able to help you identify your institution's keyholder.

Should I Meet With My Keyholder?

It might be beneficial to meet with your keyholder to discuss the transition to CIP 2010. Since recertification will also involve IPEDS data, it might be useful to establish a connection between the international office and the keyholder for that reason as well. However, whether or not a meeting with your institutional keyholder is essential will depend on how your institution is organized. It might be more appropriate to work with other offices that in turn would consult the keyholder as needed.

Note: information about IPEDS and recertification is at

Possible Questions for a Discussion with Your Institution's Keyholder (or Another Office as Appropriate).

  • Can the keyholder provide you with a list of CIP codes currently in use by your institution?
  • Since institutions will be required to use a new series of CIP codes (CIP 2010) for Fall Term Department of Education reporting, has our institution made the change to CIP 2010? If not, when will that happen? How many of our CIP codes changed or might change?
  • How are CIP codes assigned to new programs of study? When are changes made?
  • How can the international office be brought into the loop when new majors/degrees/programs are added and new CIP codes assigned
  • Is your keyholder aware of the list of CIP codes have been designated by ICE as science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) degrees for the purpose of approving a 17-month STEM extension of optional practical training (OPT)? Are there fields currently assigned to CIP codes that end in .99 (meaning that they cannot be considered for addition to the ICE list and will not be STEM-eligible) that might be re-assigned to codes that don't end in .99, given the additional CIP 2010 options?

Note: Most CIP codes will not change from CIP 2000 [current CIP codes] to CIP 2010 [new CIP codes], but there are nearly 500 CIP 2010 codes that either represent newly defined fields of study or redefined fields of study that now must be reported under a new CIP code. You can get an idea of how the change to CIP 2010 will affect your institution by using the CIP wizard, available on the CIP 2010 Web page:

If you would like to see whether particular CIP codes have changed in CIP 2010, you can use "Quick CIP," also on the CIP 2010 Web page

How Should Batch Schools Prepare for the SEVIS 6.6 Upgrade?

Obtain a list of CIP codes changes your institution has made or plans to make during the transition to CIP 2010.

Determine whether these changes match the changes in the CIP "crosswalk" at For example, if your institution uses a particular code from the CIP 2000 list that has been deleted from the CIP 2010 list, your institution may choose to follow the recommendation in the "crosswalk" or may find another CIP 2010 code that better matches the way that program of study is defined at your institution.

Review the information in the most recent version of "SEVIS Release 6.6 Anticipated System Changes," which is available on the RTI message board and the NAFSA Web site, in particular the information about the automatic updating of CIP codes that will occur for some SEVIS records as part of SEVP's implementation of SEVIS 6.6.

After the SEVIS 6.6 upgrade has been completed, some of the automatically updated records may need to be corrected if your institution did not follow the recommendation in the "crosswalk." SEVIS Release 6.6 Anticipated System Changes also explains when records will not be automatically updated, but may need to be updated by schools after the SEVIS 6.6 upgrade.

Consult your batch software vendor or your IT department to ensure that your batch software will be able to send CIP 2010 codes. If your institution uses a datalink, you or your IT department may need to enter any CIP codes that your institution has changed into your batch software so that academic programs will be associated with the correct new CIP code. Consult your software vendor for guidance.

Suggestions for RTI Schools

Review the information in the most recent version of "SEVIS Release 6.6 Anticipated System Changes," which is available on the RTI message board and on the NAFSA Web site, in particular the information about records that will not be automatically updated, but may need to be updated by schools after the SEVIS 6.6 upgrade. The document contains a table that lists 14 CIP 2000 codes that do not map to CIP 2010. Here are those codes, matched to their CIP title:

CIP 2000 Codes And Titles With No Crosswalk To CIP 2010
  • 05.9999 Area, Ethnic, Cultural, and Gender Studies, Other
  • 21.0101 Technology Education/Industrial Arts
  • 29.0101 Military Technologies
  • 51.1699 Nursing, Other
  • 55.0101, 55.0201, 55.0301, 55.0401, 55.0501, 55.0601, 55.0701 , 55.0801, 55.9999 Programs for Series 55 (French/Canadian Language and Literature/Letters). “The codes in Series 55. are for the exclusive use of Statistics Canada in collecting data on Canadian programs in French that correspond to English programs (such as those listed in Series 23. for native speakers of the language). The use of Series 55. codes in the United States is inappropriate.”
  • 60.0299 Medical Residency Programs, Other

RTI schools can use the RTI search function to look for records of active or initial status students with student major codes (CIP codes) that cannot be mapped to CIP 2010 by following these steps:
  1. Set Search Type to: All Students or Dependents and Search Criteria to: Search By Status.
  2. In the "search by status" box press the Ctrl key and click to highlight active and initial, enter a code from the "CIP 2000 Codes that do not Map to CIP 2010" table in the Student Major Code field and click search.
  3. Repeat this process for the remaining codes in the "CIP 2000 Codes that do not Map to CIP 2010" table.

Programs can use the RTI search function to look for Exchange Visitors records with subject/field codes that may need to be updated; the process is similar although a little more cumbersome. Batch schools can of course use this RTI search process as well, but may find it easier to use the query or reporting functions in their batch software or their student information systems.