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The online version of the IPEDS Glossary provides definitions for almost 500 postsecondary-related terms used in the collection and dissemination of IPEDS data.

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Term Definition Related terms
Calculation of FTE students (using instructional activity) The number of FTE students is calculated based on the credit and/or contact hours reported by the institution on the IPEDS 12-month enrollment (E12) component and the institution's calendar system, as reported on the IC Header component. The following table indicates the level of instructional activity used to convert the credit and/or contact hours reported to an indicator of full-time equivalents (FTE students):
   - Quarter calendar system
         - Enrollment level (One FTE over 12-month period)
               -Undergraduate 45 credit hours, 900 contact hours
               -Graduate 36 credit hours
   - Semester/trimester/4-1-4 plan/other calendar system
         -Enrollment level (one FTE over 12-month period)
               -Undergraduate 30 credit hours 900 contact hours
               -Graduate 24 credit hours
For institutions with continuous enrollment programs, FTE is determined by dividing the number of contact hours attempted by 900.

The total 12-month FTE is generated by summing the estimated or reported undergraduate FTE and the estimated or reported graduate FTE and reported Doctor's Professional Practice FTE.
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National Center for Education Statistics -
U.S. Department of Education