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Saturday, December 27, 2003

Oh, Yeah

Sorry to have not posted without so much as a note of explanation. Headed down to the inlaws for the holidays. I expected to post a little while I was there, but their ISP was not cooperating. Spent most of the time curled in a fetal position in front of the computer clutching the mouse.

Anyhow, we got back this evening. Just popping on before bathing the kid, and then settling in to watch one of our new DVDs with the family.

Monday, December 22, 2003

No Deviations

In April 2002, I noticed an article talking about almost desperate bids by schools to get college students to graduate in the standard 4 years. Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education -- comprised of 14 public universities -- seems to have a different intent.

Under a plan being advanced by leaders of the State System of Higher Education, the maximum number of credits a full-time student at those universities can take without paying extra would drop from 18 credits a semester to 16. Anyone taking more than that number would pay $192 per credit hour on top of their full-time tuition bill.

After recently lowering the number of credits needed to graduate from 132 to 120, they want to make it more expensive to graduate within 4 years. If you take 16 credits per semester for the 4 years, that is 128 credits. Seems easy, but only if you assume the incoming student knows exactly what he/she wants to study and get a degree. Any deviations from the original plan will make it more costly to get the courses needed for a new major and still graduate within 4 years, perhaps even 5.

The reason for this proposed plan

Currently, the $192 fee is assessed only after 18 credits. But that policy has allowed too many students over the years to "course-shop," filling seats that then go unused after the student quickly drops the class, State System Chancellor Judy Hample said yesterday.

Those seats "are wasted," she said, since often it's too late to realistically expect another student to fill them a week or more after the course work has started.

Sounds like a way to force students to pay an extra $200-400 dollars a semester to register to take more than 16 credits; or go another semester or two. Their evidence of this nefarious scheme where so many students will take 18 credits and then drop a course or two if they don't like it or think it will be too hard?

According to the article, maybe 13% of the total enrollment at these schools -- 12,200 out of 104,000 -- register for more than 16 credits in a semester. They don't give any numbers on how many students actually drop courses. Personally, I'm betting that at most, 10% of those taking more than 16 credits, drop a class. Of that number, how many were really doing it on a pre-meditated plan to get rid of one after the semester started? Perhaps 50%? That's 610 students at 14 universities. That doesn't seem like much of an epidemic.

I don't know why anyone would be suspicious of this plan and the reasons?


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