Sweet 16: breaking the credit limit

Lightmary Flores

Beginning in the Spring of 2017, students will be able to enroll in up to 16 credit hours without facing extra charges. Prior to this change, students were charged $1,841 per unit over 15 units. 

This posed a concern in regards to students’ academic progress, especially since required classes in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields are generally worth four credits — making it more likely for students to stay under 16 credits.

After an extensive amount of work by the Educational Policies Committee (EPC), which is comprised of Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Darrin Good decided to amend the credit cap.

 This proposal to include an additional credit within tuition had been up for discussion for many years and was initially planned to be implemented last year, but the committee reportedly needed more time to look at the budget ramifications over the summer of 2016. 

“We decided to implement it as soon as possible, Spring Semester 2017, rather than wait until the next academic year,” Good said.

Junior and Psychology major Siri Wilder needs multiple upper level laboratory courses in order to graduate and says this new policy will benefit her. 

“This semester, I ended up taking an internship class instead of a psychology class that I actually needed, which would have let me graduate sooner,” said Wilder. “But now with the 16 credits, it will help me get all those credits I need to graduate. It came at such a good time and I know a lot of other students will benefit from it as well.” 

 This project has been an objective of Good’s since he came to campus in the Fall of 2016. “It took a great deal of time to work through the costs and ramifications of such a proposal. In the end, we determined the benefits outweighed the costs,” said Good.

Within the wide range of issues that faculty and administrators took into consideration, aside from cost was the concern of offering enough courses to meet the demand of students. “It was much more complicated than anyone imagined it would be,” said Good. “In the past, a student who had 13 credits likely would not enroll for another three credit class due to the cost of paying for one credit of overload. A number of students will now choose to take that extra class.”

With the ability to add on more courses, Good suggests that students work closely with their academic advisor when it comes to registration. 

“I know I speak for all faculty and advisors when I say that I hope that students are self-aware with regard to their abilities to handle as many as 16 credits in one semester,” said Good. “Wisely choose a combination of courses that will lead to successful learning outcomes and grades.”