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Master's Enrollment Incentive

Optional Increased Master's Enrollment Incentive Program


• Facilitate growth in graduate master’s enrollment

• Establish a financial framework for considering different enrollment strategies for master’s students

• Expand funding for graduate student fellowships

• Support creation of new graduate programs

• Recognize that expanded or significant levels of master’s education is not feasible in all disciplines

• Simplify revenue allocations and clarify financial incentives

• Achieve an academically healthy balance between undergraduate, master’s, doctoral, and professional education in the context of other campus activities and initiatives

Description of Proposal 

This proposal allows graduate groups and programs that offer masters degrees to opt-in to a new budget model that will provide greater financial resources to the program than the current graduate budget model if the program grows master’s enrollment.

Graduate Studies is offering graduate programs the option to participate in a master’s enrollment incentive that will provide a greater allocation through the graduate budget model. Building on our experience with the current model and the master’s pilot, this incentive will provide access to greater funding allocations for incremental increases in master’s enrollment.

Programs wishing to participate in the 2017-2018 academic year should notify Kellie Sims Butler, the Assistant Dean in Graduate Studies, of their intent by January 31, 2017. The opportunity to opt-in to the incentive will be available annually. Programs that are not ready to begin the incentive for 2017-2018 will be able to do so in future years. Staff in Graduate Studies and Budget and Institutional Analysis (BIA) are also available to assist programs in assessing this opportunity by providing data and modeling specific to their program.

Graduate Studies (GS) and the Office of Budget and Institutional Analysis (BIA) have developed an excel template tool to allow programs to model the financial impact of growing masters enrollment and compare participation in the MEIP to the current budget model under various enrollment scenarios.  This tool will also identify the starting enrollment level if a program opts-in and allows programs to identify fund distribution between Dean and program. 

Tools and Links

Contact Us

If you have any questions about the template or financial aspects of this program, please contact Tiffany Wright, BIA Analyst.  Other questions about the program please contact Kellie Sims Butler, Assistant Dean in Graduate Studies.

GS and BIA have also jointly developed the following FAQ to address questions raised about the program.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How is base enrollment for the Master’s Enrollment Incentive program determined?
  •  If your 2015-16 student enrollment FTE is greater than your prior year total enrollment then your 2015-16 enrollment will be used as your base enrollment. If not, then your 3-year average enrollment will be used as your base enrollment. Enrollment will be based on the program’s 3-quarter average full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment based on the campus enrollment census data (taken the 3rd week of every quarter).  The FTE will be adjusted to account for dual enrollment and part-time status.  This data will be provided by Budget and Institutional Analysis (BIA).
  • How are dual majors counted?
  • Full time students with a dual major in your master’s program are counted as 0.5 FTE. Part-time students with a dual major in your master’s program are counted as 0.25 FTE. The calculation is the same regardless of which major the student enrolled in first or whether his or her majors are both masters or a masters and a Ph.D.
  • Why is the program only getting partial credit for students enrolled in dual majors?
  • To ensure that allocations do not exceed revenue collected and that both programs receive equal credit for that student’s enrollment.
  • Who determines if a student is part-time?
  • Fee-paying status is determined by the Office of the Registrar based on specific criteria
  • How are CalVet waiver recipients counted?
  • A student who is eligible for a CalVet waiver is counted in the appropriate fee-payer status to which they would otherwise be attributed (i.e., Full-time, Part-time, or Dual-Major).  While the university does not receive tuition revenue from these students, for the purposes of the MEIP, revenue will be allocated to programs  so that there is no disincentive to admit these students.
  •  Does the master's incentive allocation change previous funding allocations to my program?
  • No. Opting in does not affect any previous base budget allocations to your program.  Allocations will be incremental changes over the program funding level prior to opting in to the master’s incentive tuition model. Opting in does not affect any previous base budget allocations to your program. 
  •  How does the Master’s Enrollment Incentive Program affect Graduate Program Fellowship Allocation (GPFA)?
  • Master’s enrollment growth above the opt-in baseline does not increase the GPFA (block grant funding) to a program.
  • Is the funding generated by the incentive program one-time funding?
  • No. Funding is provided as base (ongoing) funding so that programs will have the same level of funding at the beginning of the next year.  An incremental adjustment to this base funding would be made annually to reflect enrollment changes per the model.  This adjustment could be positive of negative.  For example, if, after a program opts-in to the incentive model, program enrollment or the percentage of non-resident students declines from the prior year, then funding will be withdrawn at the same per student rate so that the revenue may be properly allocated to other programs.  If enrollment declines to a point that it is lower than the enrollment when the program opted-in to the incentive, the program will be considered not to be in the incentive program any longer.
  • When will we get the new funds generated by the newly enrolled master's students?
  • Since funding is determined by actual three quarter average enrollment at the time of the official enrollment census, incremental funds will not be provided until after the third quarter census is finalized.  For example, if enrollment increases by 5 students at the beginning of the 2017 academic year, funding associated with those students would be allocated around May 2018.  This is within the same fiscal and academic year the increased enrollment occurred. Costs can be incurred against this revenue source during the same year the program has increased enrollment.  If expenditures are made prior to the revenue allocations, it will be important for the program and Dean’s Office to make an estimate of anticipated revenue under the incentive based on known enrollment information.  The modeling template can assist with this. 
  • If a master's student in one of these programs receives a fellowship or TA/GSR appointment, does this impact the amount of revenue allocated to the program for this student?
  •  No. The allocation of revenue collected by the University to academic units is a completely separate process from any type of financial aid or fee remission provided to a student.  Whether or not an individual student is selected for a fellowship, TA or GSR appointment (in any program/unit), has no effect on the tuition funds allocated to programs through the budget model, either through the current model or the Master’s Enrollment Incentive Program.
  • Are funds from the Master’s Enrollment Incentive Program subject to the budget reduction 3% tax?
  • For the new masters incentive program, no. Allocations will not occur until next spring (once we have 2017-18 enrollments and revenue information). Moreover, student financial support will not be taxed. For the Master's Revenue Sharing Pilot Program, those funds were folded into the base budget several years ago as 19900 funds (through the dean’s offices). Therefore, to the extent that there are unspent funds remaining in an account, the tax will be applied.

Additional Questions Specific to Using the Master's Enrollment Incentive Program Modeling Template

  • Does the projected allocation include previous allocations to my program?
  • No. The model template shows the incremental allocation changes over your previous allocations prior to opting in to the master’s incentive tuition model. Opting in does not affect any previous base budget allocations to your program. 
  • I entered some enrollment growth in the first year and now the master’s model is showing alternating years of negative and positive figures for the incremental allocations in the out years. What is this and why is it not happening in the current model?
  • What you are observing is the effect of your national students becoming California residents after one year and then reverting back to non-residents as they are assumed to be backfilled with new national students as they exit your program.  If you only entered California resident or international students, you would not see the swapping. In the current model the incremental increase is shared and fluctuations like this are comingled. 
  • Why is the template showing reference errors or not loading properly?
  • There are formulas in this model that are not recognized by older versions of Excel or Excel for Mac. Please save the file to a location accessible by remote desktop. Then open the file through remote desktop.  Contact your IT of help desk for help using remote desktop.
  •  What does “required student support” Mean?
  • UCOP policy requires 50% of graduate tuition to be used for financial aid, this is called “Return-to-Aid” or RTA.  For comparison purposes between the two models, this amount is labeled “Required Student Support.”  How this aid is distributed organizationally varies between the two models, however the rate and purpose is consistent.
  • Why is there a difference in the per student amounts and required student support between the current model and master’s incentive program?
  • Differences in estimated allocations per student between the two models are expected; this is due to the handling of fee waivers, primarily in-absentia waivers which are primarily received by Ph.D. students.  It is assumed that the use of in-absentia status is very rare in master's programs.  Therefore, no adjustment is made to account for this fee paying status in this model.