If you read in the paper or online you might see that in the fall of 2012 CFCC had about 9,600 students. (Maybe a few more). Then you find a report on the North Carolina Community College System under student enrollment by college that states we had 12,731 students.
That’s odd…why the difference? The difference is the range of time. In the first scenario, we are talking about students for only one semester – fall of 2012. In the NCCCS report they are talking about annual enrollment for an academic year (2011-12). An academic year is from the beginning of fall term one year all the way through the summer of the next year. So if we have 9,500 students in the fall semester and about the same in the spring, plus a couple thousand more in the summer – that adds up to more than 12,731, right? Well, academic year student counts are unduplicated. Meaning that a student may have taken classes in the fall, spring and summer, but they are only counted one time.
What if someone mentions FTE (full-time equivalent) enrollment or FTE headcount? The term is a little misleading. FTE enrollment is not a number but a calculation upon which our state funding is based. The calculation is not all that complicated, but takes a variety of factors into consideration, such as different methodologies for curriculum or continuing education classes.
Submitted by: Barbara Brown, Institutional Researcher