What Does FTE Mean in Academic Budget?

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Before the start of each school year or academic term, school administrators spend time determining how much money they're allowed to spend on their staff. At the start of that process, the administrators will be allotted a certain number of "FTEs," which stands for "full-time equivalent."

How it Works

  • It's pretty simple: An FTE is a full-time job for an entire school year or fiscal year. For example, the University of Colorado-Boulder defines it as "one position, continuously filled, full-time for the entire fiscal year." When developing a budget, let's say an administrator is given a total of 10 FTEs for the school year. That means the administrator is allowed to hire 10 full-time employees for that year, though she may also break that down into other increments. For example, she might hire eight teachers full-time, and then hire four other staff members on a half-time basis. Because the part-timers are working half days, they're considered half FTEs. A higher number of FTEs in an academic budget means the administrator has a bigger budget with which to hire staff.

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