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Community Colleges and Use of FTE
(Please read Employer Announcement #70 Community Colleges: Eligibility and use of FTE (October 4, 2011), before reviewing this FAQ)
 
Q1)  What is FTE and what is its purpose?
 
A1)  FTE (Full Time Equivalent) is used by community colleges to determine the PERS-qualifying status of academic positions.
 
ORS 238.074 (Ch.238, Tier One/Tier Two) and ORS 238A.142 (Ch.238A, OPSRP Pension) state that .375 FTE/12 month or .5 FTE/9 month equals 600 hours service in a year period for academic employees of community colleges.
 
A community college academic employee is defined by OAR 459-010-0012(3) as “…an instructor who teaches classes offered for college-approved credit or on a non-credit basis. Librarians, counselors, and aides in non-teaching positions, tutors, or other non-teaching faculty, and classified, professional or nonprofessional support staff are not academic employees….”
 
For Tier One/Tier Two academic employees, a year period is a school year beginning July 1 of one calendar year and ending June 30 of the next calendar year. For OPSRP academic employees, a year period is a calendar year beginning January 1 and ending December 31.
 
Employers are responsible for determining the academic duties that constitute 1.0 FTE for an academic position. Employers then determine if the academic duties performed by the academic employee in the position would meet the minimum .375 FTE over a 12-month period or .5 FTE over a 9-month period.
 
If the minimum FTE is met, it is equivalent to 600 hours service in a year period, and positions in the year period are qualifying.
 
Q2)  Statute establishes qualifying minimums for academic positions as FTE, equivalent to 600 hours in a year period. How can I determine FTE and convert it to hours?
 
A2) Community college employers may hire academic employees for a single term, multiple terms, or for the entire year period. Many employers assign FTE on a per-term basis.
 
PERS, by statute, must consider FTE on an annual basis. To accommodate employers’ practice in the past, PERS instructed employers that FTE had to average .375 for 12-month or .5 for 9-month academic employment to be considered qualifying in any year. Alternatively, employers were instructed to add all FTE for any given year period together, with a total of 1.5 FTE for either 12-month or 9-month employment considered qualifying. The method used to determine qualification, i.e., the minimum, 1.5 FTE total or average FTE per year period, is the employer’s choice.
 
To convert FTE to hours, consider the following:
 
Statute states .375 FTE/12 month or .5 FTE/9 month equals 600 hours per year period. If that minimum FTE equals 600 hours in a year period, then by simple math, 1.0 FTE per year period is 1,600 hours for a year period.
 
Each year period has four possible three-month academic terms—fall, winter, spring and summer—each equivalent to one quarter year of 400 hours. 1.0 annual FTE, expressed on a quarterly or term basis, becomes 400 hours/quarter. Multiply 400 hours by the FTE assigned to the term to determine the number of hours to report for that term.
 
See Employer Announcement #70 for more information on FTE conversion to hours.
 
Q3)  Once I’ve used the FTE method easiest for me to determine whether or not the academic position meets the FTE minimum for PERS qualification, what do I report to PERS? How do I report it?
 
A3)  If you determine that the academic position meets the minimum .375 FTE/12 month or .5 FTE/9 month minimum, the hire intent for the academic employment segment is “qualifying.” The employer would report that qualifying hire intent by use of status code 01-New Hire on the DTL1 submitted for the person being hired into the position, and use wage code 01 for DTL2 records submitted during the “waiting time” and after the individual establishes membership. 
 
If the employer determines that the academic position will not meet the minimum .375 FTE/12 month or .5 FTE/9 month minimum, the hire intent for the academic employment segment is “non-qualifying.” The employer would report that non-qualifying hire intent by use of status code 15-Non-qualifying Hire on the DTL1 submitted for the person being hired into the position, and use wage code 02 for DTL2 records submitted during the “waiting time” and after the individual establishes membership.
 
PERS would expect the employer to report a minimum of 150 hours of service per term for a qualifying 12- month academic position and a minimum of 200 hours service per term for a qualifying 9-month academic position.
 
Q4)  I occasionally receive online Salary Breakdown forms from PERS to determine the qualification status for member service time prior to January 1, 2004. The form is set up for reporting hours, not FTE, so how do I complete the form?
 
A4)  Community college employers must use FTE to determine PERS qualification of their academic employees.The Salary Breakdown form allows only hours to be reported for months in the year period covered by the form. Consequently, PERS asks that employers enter in the Comments area of the form:
 
1) FTE for each quarter in the year covered by the form, and
2) what FTE reporting method is being used, such as “Annual FTE sum = 1.5 FTE,” “Annual FTE average = .375 FTE/12 month,” or “Annual FTE average = .5 FTE/9 month.”
 
Example 1
 
Pauline is a Tier One member. PERS records show that she began employment as a community college instructor in August 1995. PERS requires salary breakdowns for 1995 and 1996 to determine if employment in the 1995-96 academic year is qualifying.
 
The employer completes the salary breakdown forms, confirms that Pauline was a 12-month academic employee, includes quarterly FTE for the 1995-96 academic year in the comments area of the forms along with the method used to determine qualification, “Annual FTE sum=1.5 FTE,” and states hire intent for the position is “non-qualifying.”
1995, 1st quarter - .00, 2nd quarter - .00, 3rd quarter – .00, 4th quarter - .11 and
1996, 1st quarter – .10, 2nd quarter - .19, 3rd quarter –.32, 4th quarter - .31
 
Will Pauline receive contributions and creditable service for the 1995-96 academic year?
 
No. The academic year begins July 1, 1995, and ends June 30, 1996, covering 3rd and 4th quarters of 1995 and 1st and 2nd quarters of 1996. Our 12-month FTE requirement is .375FTE/12 month, the employer indicated the “Annual FTE sum = 1.5 FTE” method, and the sum of FTE for the affected quarters is: .00 + .11 + .10 + .19 = .40.  The 1.5 FTE sum is not met, and Pauline’s employment beginning August 1995 is non-qualifying.
 
Example 2:
 
Pauline is a Tier Two member. PERS records show she may have worked as an instructor for an Oregon community college in 2000. PERS requests salary breakdowns for 1999, 2000, and 2001 to determine if her employment in the 1999-2000 or 2000-01 academic year is qualifying.
 
The employer completes the salary breakdown forms, confirms Pauline was a nine-month academic employee, and includes quarterly FTE history in the Comments area of each form along with the method used to determine qualification, “Annual FTE average = .5 FTE/9 month.”
1999: 1st quarter - .60, 2nd quarter - .33, 3rd quarter - .00, 4th quarter - .55
2000: 1st quarter - .68, 2nd quarter - .15, 3rd quarter - .00, 4th quarter - .70
2001: 1st quarter - .18, 2nd quarter - .90, 3rd quarter - .00, 4th quarter - .00
 
Will Pauline receive creditable service or contributions for either academic year?
 
Our employer indicated the “Annual FTE average = .5 FTE/9 month” method. FTE average for the 1999-2000 school year is: (.00 + .55 + .68 + .15)/3 = .46, so 1999-2000 does not qualify. However, FTE average for the 2000-2001 school year is: (.00 + .70 + .18 + .90)/3 = .59, so 2000-2001 does qualify.
 
Please direct any questions to your ESC account representative.