Headcount enrollment is the number of individuals who have paid fees and enrolled in classes. FTE enrollment is a measure of instructional workload used for state budgeting, facilities planning, and local resource allocation decisions. FTE enrollment is a statement about how many students taking full study loads would generate a given number of measured or anticipated student credit hours. FTE enrollment can be either an estimate of instructional workload, which is the version used for state budgeting, or an exact equivalent of measured student credit hours in a previous term or academic year, which is the version used locally for resource allocation. For a description of how FTE enrollment is estimated in the state budget context, see the Enrollment Issues Handbook published by the UC Office of the President. To convert a measured amount of instructional workload to FTE enrollment, divide student credit hours by a full time study load to determine how many full time students would generate the same instructional workload. Student credit hours (SCH) are the sum of the units earned by all students enrolled in a class. For this purpose, a full study load is defined as:
45 SCH per year (15 units per quarter for three quarters) for undergraduates
36 (SCH) per year (12 units per quarter for three quarters) for a graduate student on the General Campus
For example, 450 undergraduate SCH are equivalent to 10 full time equivalent (FTE) student enrollment (calculated as 450 SCH divided by 45 SCH/FTE). For students on the health sciences campus, FTE workload is considered equal to headcount enrollment.
Conversion factors are used to convert headcount enrollment to estimated instructional workload (FTE enrollment). See An Enrollment Issues Handbook published by the UC Office of the President.
The differences in these enrollment measures stem from the need to plan and fund instruction earlier in the budget cycle than the campus can measure it precisely. Many years ago the university and the state developed a convention used to project and estimate instructional workload for budgeting purposes. Enrollment funding provided to the campus is determined by the estimated enrollment. Only after the budget cycle is over does the campus know exactly how much instructional activity occurred. The campus still tracks actual instructional activity, however, and uses it to evaluate resource adequacy at the school and division level. Budgeted FTE enrollment is projected headcount enrollment multiplied by projected instructional workload per individual student. Projected workload is, by convention, equal to the average student workload over the most recent two academic years that were completed prior to the submission of the Regent's budget to the state Department of Finance. Estimated FTE enrollment is the estimated headcount enrollment multiplied by the projected instructional workload per individual student. The difference between budgeted and estimated is that during the actual year being funded, the projected headcount used to calculate budgeted FTE enrollment is replaced by actual headcount enrollment. But by convention, the study load per student remains the projected version that was original developed for the Regent's budget. Actual FTE enrollment can be determined at the end of the academic year. At that point, the actual student credit hours that students generated during the year can be converted to FTE workload using the method described above. Actual FTE will exceed estimated FTE if the actual average study load was higher during the year under consideration than it was during the two years that determined the projected study load for budgeting purposes.
AIM collects and reports data according to guidelines agreed upon by UC and the state about what kind of instruction is eligible for state support. The following rules for reporting on registered students and their study loads may explain differences between AIM data and data from other sources. Students are classified as enrolled in either state-supported programs or in self-supporting programs. Students in both groups are included in summary enrollment tables, if they have paid their fees by the end of the third full week of classes. But only the course enrollments of students in state-funded programs are included in AIM's workload and instructional activity reports. UNEX enrollments are excluded from all reports. AIM data is a snapshot of the enrollments of students who have paid fees by the end of the third full week of classes each term. This will usually differ from views of enrollment at the end of the term. Graduate students in academic programs are divided into those in general campus programs and those in health sciences programs.