Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between FTES and headcount?

  • One full-time equivalent student (FTES) is the equivalent of one student enrolled for 15 community college credits per quarter.
  • Headcount is the actual number of students enrolled, regardless of credit hours.


  • One student taking a full academic load of 15 credits is the equivalent of one FTES.
  • If three students are each taking one five credit class, together they total one FTES.

What is the definition of a full- and part-time student?

Full-time status can be viewed in two ways:

  • Financial aid eligibility: For the purposes of awarding federal and state financial aid, a full-time student is enrolled for 12 or more credits per quarter. A part-time student is enrolled for 11 or fewer credits.
  • Academic time to degree: To complete a 90-credit associate degree in two years requires “full-time” attendance of 15 credits per quarter (six quarters, excluding summer).

How are courses funded at community and technical colleges?

  • State-supported: Courses funded completely or in part by legislative appropriations of state funds, plus student tuition.
  • Contract-supported: Courses funded by grants and contracts with external organizations. These may include Running Start and International Contract programs.
  • Student-funded or self-support: Courses funded entirely through fees charged to the students enrolled in them.

What types of courses do community and technical colleges offer?

  • Academic: Courses which provide the first two years of bachelor’s degree programs and those that support workforce education programs in such areas as math, science and English. Some colleges offer applied bachelors options.
  • Workforce Education: Courses which prepare students for entry-level employment in the workforce, or provide retraining and upgrading for employed adults.
  • Developmental Education: Courses which prepare students for college-level classes.
  • Basic Education for Adults, : Courses for adults at a high school level or below, including basic skills, high school completion, GED, or English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) proficiency for those whose native language is not English.
  • Continuing Education: professional development, personal enrichment and job-related training.

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