What is Pro Rata? Definition, Examples & How to Calculate

What is pro rata

To calculate your pro rata share, you would take the total value of your bonus and multiply it by the proportion you’re entitled to. Imagine that you’re an employee at a company, and you’re entitled to receive a $5,000 bonus this year. However, you decide to leave the company on August 15th and don’t finish out the year. Your employment contract states that if you leave the company at any point in the year, you are still entitled to a pro rata share of your bonus. To calculate the pro rata share, divide the number of true items by the maximum quantity possible. Assuming a non-leap year, there are 79 days (inclusive) between January 1 and March 20.

  1. Pro rata typically means that each party or person receives their fair share in proportion to the whole.
  2. This guide will explain what pro rata is, when it’s used, and other helpful information so that you feel confident should you encounter a pro rata distribution.
  3. The bond buyer, not the issuer, is responsible for paying the bond seller the accrued interest, which is added to the market price.
  4. Another common use is to determine the amount due for a partial insurance policy term.
  5. It is particularly useful when the exact value of something can’t be easily determined by itself, but can easily be assigned a proportion value when compared to something else.

When a company pays dividends to its shareholders, each investor is paid according to its holdings. If a company has 100 shares outstanding, for example, and issues a dividend of $2 per share, the total amount of dividends paid will be $200. No matter how many shareholders there are, the total dividend payments cannot exceed this limit. In this case, $200 is the whole, and the pro rata calculation must be used to determine the appropriate portion of that whole due to each shareholder. Publicly-traded companies use pro rata to calculate how dividends are paid out to shareholders.


The dividend payment a shareholder receives is proportionate to the number of shares they own, relative to the total number of shares available. Assume there are only four shareholders who hold 50, 25, 15, and 10 shares, respectively. This is calculated by dividing the ownership of each person by the total number of shares and then multiplying the resulting fraction by the total amount of the dividend payment. To calculate the pro rata distribution, multiply the pro rata share by the related item.

In simple terms, pro rata is used such that everyone involved in a scenario gets their fair share in proportion to the whole. Learn the pro rata definition, and get some examples of how and why this approach works. When a college student withdraws, colleges may refund tuition payments on a pro rata basis.

What is pro rata

Instead of getting all of the items, someone can get a pro rata share, a proportional offering based on how much they are entitled to. For example, if I own 10% of a building, I may expect a pro rata share of 10% of the building’s rental income. Therefore, in this example, by leaving on March 20th, the employee will receive a pro rata distribution of $2,164 based on the prorated number of days worked of the year. For example, imagine an employee set to receive a $10,000 bonus this year.

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They may offer a discount if the customer makes a purchase during a specific time period or as a bonus to a returning customer. The asset, sum, or item being allocated is distributed in either equal or proportionate amounts. They will do so by dividing the total monthly rent due by the number of days in the month to determine the amount of the rent that is proportionate to each day. They will then multiply that amount by the number of days that you will be occupying the apartment that first month. A pro rata discount could also apply if a customer joins a monthly subscription service on any day other than the first of the month.

Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets. The mathematical concept of pro rata works because the proportion of one good is imposed on another. Pro rata entails taking a fraction of one item and conveying the same fraction on another base.

What is pro rata

Dividend payments are a classic example of pro rata since dividends are paid per share. Shareholders receive dividends in direct proportion to the number of common stock they own. They may offer a discount as an incentive to a new customer to try a product or service.

Allocating the appropriate portion of an annual interest rate to a shorter time frame can also be done via pro rata. Because you won 4% of the shares, you are entitled to 4% of the dividend payment. Examples of pro rata being used include the division of a loan payment being adjusted monthly. The total amount paid by the borrower against the loan is the same each month. However, the amount of monthly payments that are allocated between the principal payment and the interest paid for the loan change each month as the loan is progressively paid off. The factor is calculated by dividing the length of time the bond was held after the last coupon payment by the time from one coupon payment to the next.

What is another name for pro rata?

If the employee leaves at any point, they will receive a pro rata share of the bonus. The agreement awards the bonus based on the number of days worked (inclusive of the last day). In insurance, pro rata is used to determine the amount of premium due for a policy that only covers a partial term.

Instead, your insurance would use a pro rate calculation so that you only end up paying the share of the premium that you’d actually be using that year. Pro rata is an adverb or adjective meaning in equal portions or in proportion.[1] The term is used in many legal and economic contexts. The hyphenated spelling pro-rata for the adjective form is common, as recommended for adjectives by some English-language style guides. In American English this term has been vernacularized to prorated or pro-rated. Even if you’re not an investor or working in the financial world, you will probably still encounter pro rata at some point in your life.

If something is given out to people on a pro rata basis, it means assigning an amount to one person according to their share of the whole. While a pro rata calculation can be used to determine the appropriate portions of any given whole, it is often used in business finance. The term “pro rata” might sound like something foreign and complex at first, but once you understand it, it’s surprisingly simple. Put very simply, it’s a calculation used such that everyone gets their fair share. It can also be used to determine the taxable amount on a retirement account distribution, holiday pay for employees, and many other areas of business. Last but not least, it can be used to calculate asset distribution amounts to heirs from a Trust or estate.

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Have some remaining questions or points of clarification regarding pro rata? Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about pro rata, right here! There are 365 days in the year, and there are 226 days between January 1st and August 15th.

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