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Glossary of Terms

This glossary contains terms found in Commission publications, on this website, and in the education community. Several subsets of this glossary are available; click on the description in the menu to view them.

Definitions of Time Status Terms

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FTE

The acronym FTE refers to the term "full-time-equivalent" enrollment, a calculation used by the state to determine funding levels per student. The California State University and the University of California use FTE, to describe units of student workload measure for funding purposes for the systems. For the California State University, the term FTE enrollment is defined to be 15 semester or quarter units. Variations in the academic calendars of the campuses of the CSU are taken into consideration in the definition of the annual FTES, which is equivalent to 30 semester or 45 quarter units. With these definitions, the number of individual students on campus is difficult to determine, but the total volume of instructional activity is more accurately reflected. For the University of California, one undergraduate FTE in the semester system is student enrollment in 15 semester units for two semesters. One graduate FTE in the semester system is student enrollment in 12 semester units for two semesters. In the quarter system, the totals are 45 undergraduate credit units and 36 graduate credit units per academic year, respectively. Though the terms FTE and FTES are often used interchangeably, it is important to note that FTE enrollment and FTES are determined through entirely different methodologies.

Full Time Equivalent Student (FTES)

The accronym FTES refers to the term "full-time-equivalent student" enrollment, a calculation used by the state to determine funding levels per student. For the California Community College, one FTES represents 525 class (contact) hours of student instruction/activity in credit and noncredit courses. The number, 525, is derived from the fact that 175 days of instruction are required each year and a student attending three hours per day for 175 days will be in attendance for 525 hours. That is, three times 175 equals 525. The California State University and the University of California use "full-time-equivalent," or FTE, to describe units of student workload measure for funding purposes for the systems. Though the terms FTES and FTE are often used interchangeably, it is important to note that FTE enrollment and FTES are determined through entirely different methodologies.

Full-Time Student

A student who is taking a full load each term. At the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU) and Community Colleges, 12 or more semester units is considered Full-time for undergraduates. At UC and CSU, 12 or more units is considered full-time for graduate students. Full-time for students is 12 or more units.(Data Element Dictionary)

Part-Time Student

Refers to a student who is taking fewer units than the full load. At the California State University (CSU) and the University of California (UC), fewer than 15 semester credit units is considered Part-time for undergraduate students. At CSU and UC, fewer than 12 credit units is considered Part-time for graduate students. At Community College, less than 12 credit units is considered Part-time. (Data Element Dictionary)

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