CSUN to meet FTE target, avoid lost funding

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After missing the enrollment target of full-time equivalent students in Fall 2004 by about 1.58 percent, enrollment after the fourth week of the Spring 2005 semester showed CSUN met the target by about half a percent, said Harold Hellenbrand, CSUN provost.

Although exact figures are not in yet, it looks like the university came very close, considering the limited amount of time, Hellenbrand said.

“What we know now is that we ended the year very close to the target,” Hellenbrand said.

Due to the budget cuts in Spring 2004, CSUN lowered the enrollment target in order to compensate for the reduction in funds.

An increase of about $30 million was given to the CSUs statewide at short notice, which left CSUN with an enrollment target increase of 1.58 percent.

The target was about 23,900 FTES, of which only 23,200 were met, leaving a target of 700 FTES to be met by Spring 2005.

To calculate the actual number of FTES, the total number of enrollment units taken by all students is divided by 15 units.

Diane Stephens, director of academic budget management, said CSUN came very close to meeting the target with the help of good planning on the part of the administration.

“At this point, we don’t believe we will be losing any money,” Stephens said.

According to Hellenbrand, some of the tactics the university used to help ensure the target was met was keeping the doors open for transfer students, as well as contacting people who were accepted for Fall 2004 admission but did not show up to attend classes.

About 20 percent of those people contacted showed up, Hellenbrand said.

Edward Ruiz, junior business major, transferred to CSUN from a community college this semester. He said his acceptance was tentative at first because of a problem he ran into with a class he was initially told would be transferable for CSUN credit. Although it took a while and his enrollment was not secure until almost the beginning of the spring semester, he said CSUN was very helpful and accommodating in making sure his class was cleared and his enrollment was secured.

“At first, I was scared because I thought it was too late to fix anything,” Ruiz said. “But surprisingly it wasn’t, and I was admitted later in the enrollment process.”

Stephens said the new target for next year is 24,196 FTES, which is very achievable.

Hellenbrand said that meeting the target or coming this close allows for additional funds of about $4 million dollars for next year’s enrollment.

“We won’t lose money,” Hellenbrand said. “This allows us to grow by about 2.5 percent next year.”

Hellenbrand said this is a great opportunity to accommodate the great amount of students who want to come to CSUN.

According to Hellenbrand, if the target would not have been met, the university could have lost $2 million to $4 million, which would end up going back to the CSU’s Chancellor’s Office.

How much money you lose depends on how much you fall short of in FTES, he said.

Hellenbrand said there is a special formula, called the Marginal Funding Rate, used to determine how much money is given to a university, which involves various complicated steps. The most important part of the formula, Hellenbrand said, is that about $7,000 to $8,000 is given for every FTE student.