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Published: June 27, 2011

Full-time equivalent (FTE)

An important calculation in higher education to convert the number of part-time students or faculty into an equivalent number of full-time students and faculty. Because of the huge number of parttime students, especially at two-year colleges and four-year state colleges, college administrators need to calculate an FTE to obtain maximum utilization of school facilities. FTE is calculated by dividing the total number of credit hours being earned by part-time students by the number of credit hours in a full-time course load. Thus, if part-time students are enrolled in a total of 15,000 credit hours and 15 credit hours is a normal full-time course load, the full-time equivalent enrollment is 1,000 students. In other words, the college has the equivalent of 1,000 full-time students. Similarly, colleges need to convert the number of part-time faculty into an FTE to budget faculty salaries and to control faculty-student goals.