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Fee Income, FTEs and Fee Related Expenditure

Fee Income, FTEs and Fee-Related Expenditure

Fee Income earned by the university is attributed to schools (and a small number of other units such as the ALC) based on the module registrations of students, expressed in FTEs. The attribution therefore implements a general principle that 'fee income follows the student'. Fee Income attributions are calculated 4 times a year, using information measured on Census Dates.

Fee Income and Fee-Related Expenditure

The full level of fee income associated with the fee rate is known as Gross Fee Income. Scholarships and certain other items are also relevant to the measurement of Fee Income. These items are named Fee-Related Expenditure and are subtracted from the Gross Fee Income to calculate Net Fee Income.

The concept is that Fee Income of €20,000, with a university-funded scholarship of €5,000 represents €15,000 of real income (regardless of whether the scholarship is funded by the school, the college or centrally). Therefore the Net Fee Income amount of €15,000 is that amount that is used for financial comparisons against Target.

In setting financial targets and budgets for schools, fee-related expenditure is deducted from gross fee income. Fee-related expenditure typically covers scholarships, commission etc. From a financial perspective, if a school exceeds its fee target by €40,000 but does so by paying fee scholarships of €40,000, then it has not really achieved additional income. Accordingly, the Performance Based Funding is calculated on Net Fee Income.

Some fee-related expenditure is processed and charged locally by the school and/or college, but some is processed centrally.

Central charges include

  • scholarships under the structured scholarships policy approved by the UMT (Global Excellence Scholarships and Global Scholarships)
  • other designated scholarship schemes approved by the UMT (e.g. the Chinese Scholarship Council)
  • commission under contractual relationships between UCD and agents.

Central Fee-Related Expenditure charges are initially applied as at the November Census and then updated as at the February census. Typically, very few further charges are applied to central charges from this point onwards other than in exceptional circumstances.

Fee Income and Fee-Related Expenditure reports are available in InfoHub and facilitate reporting at school or college level. Supplementary reports at Major level are also available. Finance Managers also distribute a detailed Census Reporting Pack to Heads of School for each census.

The reports are available from the following menu:

InfoHub Home / Finance / Fee Income and FTEs

Further information on Fee-Related Expenditure reports in InfoHub

The Fee Related Expenditure report lists the costs charged to the financial system (eFinancials) for the selected Census. Reports for the November Census include transactions up to the end of November, reports for the March Census include transactions up to the end of March, and reports for the July Census include transactions up to the end of the financial year (September).

Budget and Actual costs are shown for each financial account and the Actual costs may be reported in detail by clicking on an Actual amount. Where possible and where relevant, Fee Related Expenditure transactions are posted to the financial system with information such as Student Number, Student Name, Term Code etc. The detailed reports are structured to show this information, but in some cases the fields are not relevant or not available (e.g. Scholarship is not relevant for a Commission charge). The detailed fields reported are:

Field Details
Student ID The Student Number – available if this information has been included at the start of the financial transaction description
Name The Student Name– available if this information has been included after the Student Number in the financial transaction description
Term Code The Term to which this transaction relates
Programme The Programme to which the student is registered, retrieved from Banner if student information has been included in the financial transaction
Major The Major to which the student is registered, retrieved from Banner if student information has been included in the financial transaction
Account The financial account to which this transaction has been charged
Transaction Details The description included in the financial transaction. In the case of a scholarship payment, the description usually includes (from 2016 onwards) the Fee Detail type, indicating whether the Scholarship is Full, Major or Partial
Scholarship The name and code of the Scholarship
Efin Ref  
Scholarship Approval Basis For Scholarships, the basis under which the Scholarship was approved. The most common values will be: Structured University Policy (i.e. approved as per the University Scholarship Policy); Discretionary – School/College/VPI; Discretionary – International Office; Other Policy. The charging of the excess on Research Fees above the funder’s limit is treated under Other Policy.
Amount The amount of the financial transaction. Note that many of the costs are shared between multiple schools so that, for example, the scholarship cost charged to a particular school is not necessarily the total cost of that scholarship.

The Student Levy is included within the published fee rate for each programme because the levy is included in the amount that the student must pay. The levy is to be used exclusively to fund the capital development and current operating budget of the Student Centre and associated facilities and so is not available for general purposes.

As such the levy is excluded when calculating fee income for schools, colleges or the core university. When planning or reporting Fee Income, whether Gross or Net, we always exclude the levy.

The levy is €254 in 2019/20.

For example, for the undergraduate Science programme used in illustrations in this section, the calculation is:

Censuses, Seasonality and Forecasting Full-Year Income

Student and Module information is extracted at 4 Census Dates each year:

1 November 1 February 1 March 1 July

 The 1st November represents a point in time when module registrations are not final for the year, but when the first semester's registrations have largely settled down.

The 1st February is after the Change Of Mind window and so module registrations are pretty much fixed, but there may still be withdrawals.The 1st February Census provides the information used in the annual planning cycle, which usually starts around mid-February.

The 1st March is the date used by the HEA for reporting of student numbers. Typically there will be little change in the data compared with 1 February.

The 1 July Census is taken after semester 3 registrations have generally been finalised and is the last census of the year. This data is used for the formal attribution of fee income to schools at year-end.

Each Census represents a rolling full-year set of data, incorporating registrations to the 3 most recent term codes (semesters).

Students that are counted at each census date are students registered in the 'active' terms at that point in time. For example, for a November census date, the students counted will be those registered to the September just past, as well as the students registered in the preceding January and April. In the same way, each census date will capture students registered across a full year of rolling start dates. This is represented in the table below.

 Table of Censuses and Terms

Please note however, that while each Census represents a rolling full-year set of data, that there are still seasonal factors that affect the data. In most cases, Fee Income increases from November to February. Your Finance Manager will be able to explain some of the general seasonal factors and also investigate more local factors.

In November the ‘full’ year position will not be a perfect projection of the actual full year fee income. At aggregate university level, historic trends from November to July allow a reasonably good projection of the full year fee income, but doing the same at school level may be more difficult. This is particularly the case where there is relatively large change (increase or decrease) from one year to the next in fee income for January or April enrolments, or where any of the following anomalies apply:

• First Year Electives: FIrst year undergraduate students don't register for one elective module in the first semester, instead their 12th module is initially registered against a standard central module. In semester 2 the students register for the actual module that they will take. Most schools therefore (depending on elective choices) increase first year undergraduate fee income in the February census comapred with the November census. This policy was introduced in the 2019/20 term and so is expected to affect seasonality of fee income from 2019/20 onwards, but was not a factor in previous years.

• Occasional Programmes: Many Occasional Programmes don’t follow the same enrolment patterns as other programmes. In many cases Semester 2 enrolments are associated with the September term but have not yet been processed by 1 November. Therefore, Occasional Fee Income for the September term typically increases from the November Census to the Feb Census. This increase may be by a material amount.

• Resit Income: Resit Fee Income is included within the attributed Fee Income. Resit Fee Income for the September Term typically continues to increase after the 1st November census point, and so is typically higher in the Feb census.

• Change of Mind Window: Initial module registrations for Semester 2 are included in the 1 November Census, but are subject to change during the Change of Mind window. There may be factors that lead to a relatively high level of change for a particular school during this window, and this would lead to a change in attributed fee income in the March Census.

Full year fee income cannot be perfectly projected or predicted in advance. As the year progresses and current year registrations for January and April enrolments stabilise, the variability in census date attributions reduces and the information becomes much closer to the final year-end position. Users of the attributed Fee Income reports need to be cautious in interpreting the reports. It is more appropriate to consider the November census information as a good starting point for a full-year fee income projection rather than a projection in itself.

Heads of School are encouraged to compare fee income against budget for each level, for EU income and for Non-EU income, and also to compare the income against relevant prior censuses (e.g. November versus prior November), in order to be able to make informed projections of the full year fee income. Heads are also encouraged to review the change in fee income during the prior year from November to July, in order to project how the current year’s fee income may change.

Finance Managers forecast the full year fee income as part of the quarterly Financial Outturn process. As part of this process, they will take into account factors such as historic trends in fee income and local factors within the school and college. Finance Managers have access to full university-wide fee income and so may be aware of information external to the school that may have an impact on the school. Heads of School and Finance Managers working closely together can improve the quality of full year fee income projections.

Calculating FTEs and Attributing Fee Income

The image below shows the modules to which a sample student is registered. The credit load of each module is divided by 60 to calculate a Full-Time Equivalent for each module. 60 credits is aways used as 1 FTE - if a student is registered for less than or more than 60 credits then less than or more than 1 FTE will be attributed. A typical graduate student, with 90 credits, represents 1.5 FTEs.

The FTEs calculated for this student are summarised by school below.

Fee income is attributed to schools based on student FTEs. Conceptually, this is represented below for the sample student already shown above.

* Notional attribution of individual student's fee income.

In reality Fee Income is pooled for each Programme / Major / Stage and the attribution is performed for the pool rather than separately for each individual student. An illustration of the attribution of pooled income is available here.

UCD Finance Office

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