It’s time that the university raised the ceiling on its per-semester credit limit, or got rid of it altogether.
At the moment, students are required to take between 12 and 17 credits each academic term in order to retain full-time status without additional fees, a requirement that in essence forces students to enroll in an average of five three-credit courses per semester. If a student breaks the credit ceiling, her or she is charged for each individual credit over the maximum.
At this rate, only 41 percent of students are able to graduate in four years.
Of course, graduation rates cannot be tied to the credit limit and the credit limit alone. But the results that Pennsylvania’s other state-related schools have had in regards to the speed at which their students graduate are hard to argue with.
At the University of Pittsburgh, full-time students are given a credit maximum of 18 per semester. This single added credit allowance permits students to take six three-credit courses in a single semester without coughing up any added cash. Penn State does not cap the per-semester credits for students at all. These universities both boast four-year graduation rates roughly 25 percentage points higher than Temple’s.
“We allow students to take 12-17 credit hours in a semester at the same cost to encourage students to take a reasonable class load,” President Theobald said in an email correspondence with The Temple News.
Put simply, a student’s maximum workload shoud not up to the university to decide.
If students are truly capable of taking eight courses per term and graduating with degrees in only five semesters, the university should congratulate them and celebrate them as examples of success, rather than punishing them with extra fees.
Students at Temple are often hung out to dry when it matters most. Required classes are frequently dropped, forcing students to delay their graduation dates and pay for extra courses the following summer or academic term. Likewise, there are very few “mandatory” advising check-ups, and students sometimes walk into their final graduation approval meetings as seniors only to find out that they need to stay on an extra semester, having missed an early required course.
President Theobald’s mission statement has been to keep Temple affordable for students of all makes and models. Giving them total control over their own schedules will go a long way in accomplishing that.