As students prepare their schedules for the fall 2017 semester, University of Dallas Provost Dr. C.W. Eaker announced via email that full-time tuition will now cover a maximum of only 18 credit hours, down from 19 in previous years.
According to philosophy professor Dr. Dennis Sepper, faculty members received similar emails on March 21 and had not known of the change beforehand.
The email was sent out at 4 p.m. on March 24, nearly five hours after a mandatory pre-registration questionnaire was opened to students. Though responses are non-binding, students are encouraged to prepare information about their desired course schedules before taking it, and must complete the survey before meeting with their advisors in order to receive their registration PINs.
Pre-registration began April 3, and will continue until May 11.
Junior business major Jenny Fang has taken 19 credits per semester since she came to UD as a freshman. She says she would probably have paid extra to do so if only 18 credits per semester were covered by full-time tuition, as the added cost per credit would not exceed the amount saved on tuition by graduating early.
Cost per credit hour is currently $1,430. The flat tuition rate for full-time undergraduate students is $17,325.
“I see that it is a setback for many … but to graduate early saves so much more,” Fang said.
“[Students who take a 19th credit] are paying a little extra, but they’re getting something extra,” Eaker said. “We had a number of students who took 16 credits in the fall semester and three credits in the interterm, and I don’t disagree with them doing that, but then they paid no extra for taking the interterm.”
The inclusion of interterm in the fall full-time tuition coverage has caused problems for the university’s budget.
“Then the university has to pay extra for the faculty members because that’s an overload that’s not part of the normal teaching contract,” Eaker said. “I’m a big supporter of interterm, and that’s why I want to make it work financially for the university.”
Sophomore business major Yassi Gerami has taken 19 credits every semester since her enrollment at UD, in hopes of graduating early. She says she can still graduate early under the new credit limit, but was surprised that upperclassmen would not be grandfathered in and permitted to take the number of credits allowed when they arrived at the university.
“I do think it’s especially hard on students who are trying to graduate early,” Gerami said. “It makes sense, I get why they’re doing it financially … but it’s already hard to plan for.”
“I don’t think it really affects all that many students because I think the majority of students don’t fall in the case that they have to take 19 or 20 credit hours in a semester,” Eaker said. “I don’t think the impact is going to be that great for that many students.”
According to registrar Kathy McGraw, 54 students are billing over 18 credits this semester, and an additional 12 students are exceeding 18 credits with audited courses.
Eaker said that he did not expect the change to discourage students from taking classes outside of their majors and concentrations, as UD students tend to embrace the diverse nature of the liberal arts.
“[But] it is,” Sepper said. “It is going to have a very negative pedagogical effect on the university and the students.”
“I still think you’re getting a great deal,” Eaker said. “Look at what you’re getting, not at what you’re not getting.”