Race & Ethnicity Reporting

Georgia Tech is beginning a “resurvey” effort with continuing students, faculty and staff – asking them to update their personal information to reflect the new categories. Below you'll find background information, a description of the new categories and how they differ from the categories used previously, and frequently asked questions.

Updating your information in Techworks:
  1. Login to Techworks
  2. Select "Personal Information Home" from the "Employee Self Service" menu
  3. Select "Ethnic Groups" from the "Personal Information Summary" menu
  4. Review your current race and ethnicity information and, if necessary, make the appropriate changes
  5. If changes are made, press the “Save” button to complete the process.



Why is Georgia Tech requesting that all employees and students update their Race/Ethnicity information?

The U.S. Department of Education has adopted new guidelines for obtaining and reporting race and ethnicity data for all institutions of higher education.  In the past, employees and students were limited to choosing one category to describe racial or ethnic identity. The new method, which is required by the federal government, includes a two-part question that addresses ethnicity as well as racial heritage, and allows you to choose more than one category to describe your racial identity.

What is the difference between ethnicity and race?

Ethnicity and race often are used interchangeably although such use is incorrect. Ethnicity represents social groups with a shared history, sense of identity, geography, and cultural roots, which may occur despite racial difference. Race represents a population considered distinct based on physical characteristics.

What are the new ethnicity/race categories?

There are two categories for data on ethnicity:
1) Hispanic or Latino or Spanish Origin, and 
2) Not Hispanic or Latino or Spanish Origin.

There are five categories for data on race:
1) American Indian or Alaska Native 
2) Asian 
3) Black or African American 
4) Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 
5) White

How are the ethnicity and race categories defined?

See New Definitions

Why is the “Hispanic” question separated from the other categories?

Race and Hispanic origin are considered to be two separate and distinct categories by the federal government.

How will this data be used?  Will the race/ethnicity data have any impact on admissions or employment?

Much like the U.S. Census, this data will be reported to the federal government in aggregate form. No names are ever reported. Internally, the information will be used to illustrate the full extent of diversity on campus. The data will have no impact on admissions or employment.

If a person selects more than one race, how are they reported?

If they select the Hispanic or Latino ethnicity they will be reported as Hispanic or Latino regardless of the number of races they select. If they select not Hispanic or Latino and select two or more races they will be reported in the Two or More Races column. However, the Institution must keep all their individual responses.

Who is requiring that changes be made to the collection and reporting of ethnicity/race?

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is requiring the changes as issued in its 1997 “Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity” (https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg_1997standards). On October 19, 2007, the U.S. Department of Education posted the "Final Guidance on Maintaining, Collecting, and Reporting Racial and Ethnic Data to the U.S. Department of Education" (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/pdf/E7-20613.pdf) to implement OMB’s 1997 Standards.

Why were these ethnicity/race changes made?

Responding to growing criticism that the 1977 racial and ethnic standards did not reflect the diversity of the nation’s current population, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) initiated a comprehensive review in 1993. The review included: 1) organizing a workshop to address the issues by the National Academy of Science, 2) convening four public hearings, and 3) appointing an Interagency Committee for the Review of Racial and Ethnic Standards, which later developed a research agenda and conducted several research studies. The result of the Committee's efforts was a report describing recommended changes with most of those recommendations being accepted by the OMB it its 1997 Standards.

Are other agencies and organizations (e.g., EEOC and NCAA) adopting the same categories?

The recent guidelines only apply to the U.S. Department of Education. Other governmental agencies have adopted similar reporting standards in recent years (all of which are based on the 1997 OMB standards). The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) implemented the new standards in 2007, and their reporting/data collection guidelines are slightly different from IPEDS (http://www.eeoc.gov/employers/reporting.cfm and http://www.eeoc.gov/employers/eeo1/qanda-implementation.cfm). For information about other specific data collection efforts, the agency or organization conducting the data collection should be contacted directly.

I am an international student in the United States on a temporary visa?  Should I update my information and if so, how?

Because you are on a temporary visa, you will be reported to the federal government as “non-resident alien,” regardless of the race or ethnicity you indicate.  However, it’s helpful for the university to know your racial/ethnic identification for purposes of non-federal reporting.

What happens if I don’t update my race/ethnicity?

Failure to answer both questions will result in use of prior racial/ ethnic data or an observer identifying for you. Your current race and ethnic information in Peoplesoft will be translated into the new categories using the following conversion table:

Old Value

  • Hispanic
  • American Indian
  • African American/Black
  • Asian/Pacific Islander
  • White, Non-Hispanic
  • Unknown Unknown

New Value

  • Hispanic or Latino
  • American Indian or Alaskan Native
  • Black or African American
  • Asian
  • White
  • Unknown