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FTE Basics

Counting Full Time Equivalencies is NOT a single activity, but rather a process. The process consists of many steps and activities that you will perform over a period of time. The process also incorporates your overall knowledge of the FTE ProcessHow to do it.

The basic FTE formula itself is very simple:

   Total Enrolled Hours
   -----------------------  =  Full Time Equivalency
   Full Time Hours

Notice that the formula calls for total enrolled hours, not hours per class or hours per day. This is a significant distinction that some ISD auditors seem to forget.

There are minor differences between Pupil Full Time Equivalencies and Participant Full Time Equivalencies. Let's start with Participants (adults 20 and older). A full-time Participant is one who is enrolled for 450 hours of instruction per enrollment period. An enrollment period is considered to be 10 to 20 weeks in length and encompasses one of the four "Official" count dates.  More about counting Participants.

Let's take the example of Joe Bloe who is an ABE student in your program. He is signed up for an ABE class that meets Monday and Wednesday evening from 6:00 to 9:30 pm and your fall semester runs for 18 teaching weeks. First we see that the class is scheduled for two meetings per week, of 3 and 1/2 hours per meeting for 18 weeks. Here is the math: ( 2 x 3.5 ) x 18 = 126 scheduled hours. Now let' plug this into the formula:

   ----- =  0.28 FTE

Joe has been calculated to be worth 0.28 of an FTE. If Joe took another class just like this one, say on Tuesday and Thursday evening, how much could he be worth? Now he would be enrolled for 252 hours, which divided by 450 hours equals 0.56 FTE or just a little over a half.

Adults, or Participants if you prefer, are really easy to calculate. Hours enrolled divided by 450 per enrollment period. Theoretically it would be possible and legal for an adult to generate up to four FTEs in one year. The maximum FTE per enrollment period is 1.00, but you could run four enrollment periods in one year. Now, whether they can actually be counted is entirely up to their attendance pattern. We will get to that in a little bit.

Pupils, youngsters, kids, under 20 or whatever you want to call them, we'll call them pupils, are another story. Still basically simple but with two added caveats. Pupils are calculated on essentially the same formula, but their denominator is for the whole academic year, not just an enrollment period. Here's what we mean. Let's take little Suzie Dimplface. She is an alternative student enrolled in your program for five classes. Each class meets once a day for one and a quarter hours per meeting for five days a week for the 18 week semester. School is closed on Thanksgiving and the day after and you are not going to make up those days.  More about counting Pupils.

Let's see, 5 classes times 1.25 hours is 6.25 hours per day times 5 days per week is 31.25 hours per week times 18 weeks is 562.5 hours per semester divided by 1098 Full Time Hours equals 0.51 FTE and there are two semesters in one academic year, so times two for the whole year equals 1.02. We can't go over one FTE so we cap the annual FTE at one.

But wait a minute! Didn't we say you were not going to make up those two days? That would change the total hours, so let's look at the math in a little different manner. This time we will first figure out how many days the class will meet. Five days a week times 18 weeks is 90 meetings minus the two days not made up is 88 total meeting days times 1.25 hours per meeting is 110 hours times five classes is 550 total hours for the semester.

   ------ = 0.50 FTE

Since pupils are calculated on the whole academic year, we can assume/pretend that our little pupil will enroll for the same number of hours in the Winter semester so we can do one of three things, depending on whatever you depend on. We can simply double the 0.50 FTE to become 1.00, or we can double the enrolled hours to become 1,100 which divided by 1098 equals 1.0018214 which rounded to two decimals equals 1.00 FTE, or we can divide the Full Time Hours by two (half year remember) to become 549. Then our formula becomes

   ----- = 1.0018214 rounded becomes 1.00

So what it comes down to is our simple formula

   Enrolled Hours
   -------------------  =  Full Time Equivalent
   Hours Per Period/Year

We said there were two little caveats or gotchas' with pupils. When your ISD and other un-named folks get ahold of your FTE report, they take 80% of this fall's FTE value and 20% of last February's FTE vale and add them together to derive a year's worth of FTE. Which year?

Check here for helpful hints regarding your Local ISD Audit.

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