Orlando Sentinel: New excess credit hour rules will penalize major-changers at state universities

From Denise-Marie Balona at the Sentinel:

In a push to save money and force students to finish their studies as fast as possible, Florida’s public universities have doubled the fee they charge students who take more classes than they need for graduation.

Starting this school year, students will pay an “excess hour” fee that’s equal to tuition on all courses they take after they complete a certain number of credit hours — 115 percent of what’s necessary to earn a bachelor’s degree.

So if a degree program requires 120 credit hours, for example, students would pay twice as much for classes after they’ve racked up 138 credit hours. That means if a three-hour course costs $310 in tuition, students would end up paying $620 once the fee is tacked on.

There is no bigger graduation delayer than changing from a major like creative writing to one like engineering, especially if a student hasn’t taken advanced math and a full science program in high school.  Is this an argument for requiring STEM-readiness (Precalc or Calc, and biology-chemistry-physics) for university admission?

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One Response to Orlando Sentinel: New excess credit hour rules will penalize major-changers at state universities

  1. Doc Carr says:

    No, it is an argument for requiring advanced creative writing classes in high school, so that student would figure out earlier what it means to be a real writer. Or for starting at a community college where it is much cheaper to catch up on those freshman and sophomore classes, with no penalty after transfer (since only 60 credits transfer). It is definitely an argument for not going to a university in a STEM area unless you are totally “STEM ready”. Those who can’t start in calculus will be over that 115% line if they aren’t.

    I also think your argument is based on the false premise that there are outstanding physics and math teachers in every high school, so taking those classes would guarantee long-term learning so that student will still retain some HS math when they need it 3 years later.

    Don’t forget that you see a rather selective sample of SAT scores and a sample of mostly “college age” students. We regularly see students whose “math brain” matured late. Those classes were wasted on them in HS, but at age 25 they come back to college and suddenly get algebra and go on to become engineers.

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