The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) students attending during any given term is calculation, not an actual count of students. One FTE undergraduate student is defined as 15 student credit hours, and one FTE graduate student is 12 credit hours. Thus, for any given term, the total number of student credit hours generated by undergraduate courses is divided by 15, and the number of student credit hours generated by graduate courses is divided by 12. The FTE for the fiscal year (FYFTE) is calculated by summing the FTE figures for all three terms and dividing by two.

There are many factors that contribute to the consistency of FTE while overall student headcount increases. With tuition increases, many students choose to work more hours to cover their higher costs, while at the same time decreasing the number of credits they enroll for. Also, students who do not meet admission standards are allowed to attend part time; the number of students doing so is increasing. Additionally, distance learning increases headcount without increasing FTE.

The visualization below presents FTE calculations by term and by fiscal year for students grouped according to fee status:

  • Res - Montana residents
  • Non - Residents of other states or countries
  • WUE - Nonresident students in the WUE scholarship program