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The Oregon University System, like all other higher education institutions, employs several different definitions in counting enrollment. The various definitions serve different purposes: budget preparation, workload evaluation, federal reporting, single-point snapshots, and description OUS' provision of educational services.
Headcount enrollment reflects the number of individual students enrolled in credit courses, regardless of course load. Historical enrollment has generally been expressed in terms of fall headcount. National comparisons of enrollment are most often made on the basis of fall headcount. Most of the enrollment data in this Fact Book which describe student characteristics reflect fall headcount in regular campus courses (as opposed to extended campus courses).
Total unduplicated headcount enrollment provides a more comprehensive picture of students served in credit courses by the Oregon University System. This number reflects the total of all students, counted only once, enrolled in an OUS institution during any of the four terms of the year, regardless of course load. Both regular campus and extended campus enrollments are included in this number.
Counting OUS Enrollment for Budget Purposes
As part of the development and implementation of the new OUS budget model, a new method has been used to characterize OUS enrollment. This method defines students in terms of their credit hour load, described as full-time equivalents (FTE), and includes credit hours generated through extended programs (summer session and continuing education) as well as through the regular campus programs. This new definition has the advantage of allowing enrollment used for budget purposes to be tied directly to course loads, and of portraying OUS enrollment in a manner more consistent with that used by Oregon's community colleges.
The definition of a full-time equivalent (FTE) varies depending on the level of the student. The full-time equivalent for an undergraduate is assumed to be 15 term credit hours (or 45 annual credit hours). For a master's level student, the number is 12 term credit hours (36 annual credit hours), and for a doctoral student, the number is 9 term credit hours (27 annual credit hours).
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