NDSU wants a 15 credit standardSomewhere along the line, 12 credits a semester – the minimum to qualify for federal financial aid —became the standard definition of a full-time college course load. And Dean Bresciani isn’t happy about it.
By: By Marino Eccher, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
WILLISTON, N.D. — Somewhere along the line, 12 credits a semester – the minimum to qualify for federal financial aid —became the standard definition of a full-time college course load.
And Dean Bresciani isn’t happy about it.
“We know a student’s not going to graduate in four years if they’re taking 12 credits,” the North Dakota State University president said. “They’re probably not going to graduate in five years.”
To nudge students along, Bresciani wants to rebrand full-time undergraduate status at NDSU as a more robust 15 credit hours.
The proposal, which would take effect this fall, will be discussed at today’s State Board of Higher Education meeting here.
The change would be largely symbolic — 12 hours a semester would still count as full time, and tuition rates for taking 12 to 18 credits wouldn’t change.
But advisers would encourage students to take 15 credits as a standard load, and the university would emphasize that students do not get their money’s worth if they take fewer credits.
Texas A&M University made similar changes during Bresciani’s time as a vice president there. He said it produced “an overwhelming reaction from the freshman class” toward heavier credit loads.
“It encourages better student behavior,” he said.
Today’s meeting will also cover the university system’s 2013-2015 budget request and issues related to the state’s oil boom.
The system-wide budget, which does not include capital projects, includes about $25 million in new requests and about $19 million to cover salary increases and inflation for existing programs. The 11-campus system’s general fund budget in the current biennium is about $516 million. It will be finalized this summer and sent to the state Legislature in August.
Other items of note concerning NDSU include:
* Streamlined tuition rates for certain NDSU programs. Program fees for engineering, pharmacy, nursing and architecture would be rolled into the tuition, making it simpler to calculate how much those programs will cost.
“What we want to do is clean that up,” Bresciani said. “We think that’s going to be a lot easier on our students, their parents and anyone who’s trying to plan for college.”
* A budget request of $200,000 for a global ambassadors program to bolster NDSU’s international presence. Bresciani said the goal is to attract high-caliber students to study — and eventually work — in North Dakota. He said the number and location of the international liaisons would depend on how much funding the school gets.
* $482,000 for new NDSU transportation and logistics research programs in conjunction with Dickinson State University. The programs would focus on the infrastructure challenges posed by the oil boom.
* $163,000 for a full-time energy specialist to monitor utility costs and find savings. The campus is already in the middle of a major energy efficiency overhaul, and such hires are becoming increasingly common at colleges at universities for economic and environmental reasons.
Marino Eccher is a reporter
at The Forum of Fargo-
Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.