As of March 2021, the University of Dallas instituted a flat $600 fee for the interterm of fall 2020 and there are fewer courses available this year than in past years. Many students were caught off guard by the changes to the program.
Junior physics and electrical engineering major William Berry stated that he reconsidered his interterm plans after the price increased. “I myself, being only made aware of this price increase days ago, genuinely reconsidered my interterm plans in light of this knowledge,” Berry said.“The limited course selection also had me do a hard pause and reconsider my plans, but I am really in need of some extra credits.”
Interterm is a part of the fall semester and takes place during the latter part of Christmas break. Students have the opportunity to take a three-credit course condensed into about three weeks.
According to the Bannerweb registration page, there were eight classes available in 2019 and seven classes available in 2021, while there are only four classes available this year. Previously, the university did not charge a fee for students registered with fewer than 18 credits for the fall semester.
Dean of Constantin College, Dr. Phillip Harold, explained in an email why there are fewer classes available this coming interterm.
“The availability of courses in interterm is due to faculty availability, which can vary year to year. If faculty who normally teach interterm are on sabbatical or on leave or teaching in Rome, for instance, then the offerings for interterm have the potential to change.”
UD Chief Financial Officer Dr. Robert Watling explained that in 2020, then-provost Dr. Jonathan Sanford set out to evaluate the cost of interterm to the school. A committee including Watling, Dr. John Plotts, Dr. Ryan Reedy and Dr. David Andrews found that the cost of interterm to the school was about $100,000 and, according to Watling, the school only earned about $10,000 in revenue from housing.
The committee endeavoured to find a solution. Watling said, “We decided that we would like to at least try to break even, so that was the goal. Over the course of about six months, we scoped out a number of possible alternatives, from perhaps even shutting down interterm all together to making it look more like summer, and where we landed, as you probably know, is a flat, it’s a kind of ‘per student’ charge.”
Watling also stated that it would be best for students to plan for the price of interterm to remain consistent going forward. He said, “We will continually assess the success of the changes and of interterm in particular, and if we find that we need to make adjustments we might, however … I think that we’re on solid footing.”
Junior politics major Kaylie Vo was taken aback when she first saw the change in price during the summer. She said, “I remember looking on the UDallas website one day, just about tuition and fees and stuff, and I noticed that they had changed the interterm pricing to having that $600 flat rate, and it took me by surprise, that’s for sure.”
Vo set out to take an upper level politics elective over interterm having already finished the Core. She said, “Conveniently, there was a politics elective, which I know has been offered over interterm in the past, and it was always appealing to me, and this year was just the year to do it, so I’m really thankful that that class was still being offered.”
Other students have not had as much luck. Vo noted, “I know there was a lot of frustration and annoyance from some other classmates and friends because typically, they do have more classes offered, and it’s convenient for semester planning [and] degree planning to sometimes get those Core classes out of the way.”
Harold offered his advice to students who are concerned about their degree path. He said, “If students are concerned about keeping their graduation path in order, we would encourage them to talk with their advisor about it, but also not to hesitate to reach out to the Dean’s Office as well — we have a dedicated staff member who can help students work through all the various options to keep them on track.”