University students in Utah invited to take 15 credits per semester

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Take 15

A 30-second video posted on YouTube earlier this month by 15toFinishUtah.com invites Utah university students to take 15 credits a semester in order to finish a bachelor’s degree in four years.

The video is part of a campaign to achieve Gov. Gary Herbert’s educational goal for 66 percent of adult Utahns to have a post-secondary degree or professional certification by 2020. According to 15toFinishUtah.com, taking 15 credits a semester has many benefits besides finishing college in four years.

Gov. Gary Herbert meets with UT students. Photo courtesy officer of UT governor.
Gov. Gary Herbert meets with Utah students. (Photo courtesy office UT governor)

“Studies show that if you’re already taking 12–14 credits per semester and you add a class to make it 15, your grades will actually go up,” the website says.

Fifteen to Finish is a campaign that has been used by many universities over the last few years. The University of Hawaii initiated 15 to Finish in 2012. Norfolk State University changed its tuition to a flat rate pricing at the beginning of the Fall 2013 semester so students could take up to 18 credits at no additional cost. The president of the university encouraged all students to take 15 credits a semester during the tuition change announcement earlier this year.

Most BYU students graduate within nine to 10 semesters, or between four and five years, according to Jeanne Gubler, manager of Life Sciences Student Services and administrative assistant to Assistant Dean Anderson Young. Gubler said the College of Life Sciences is trying to get most of its students to graduate closer to eight semesters.

“Sometimes that isn’t possible with internships and study abroad programs added into the mix,” Gubler said.

BYU recently changed policies so students will graduate sooner. Students cannot change their majors without special permission after they reach 75 credit hours. There are also restrictions on double majoring, and open majors get registration holds at 60 credits.

Advisement centers are sent notifications of students with high total credit hours, asking the centers to meet with these students and assist them toward graduation, Gubler said.

Some colleges in BYU have additional requirements for their students so they will graduate on time. According to Kristen McGregor, an advisor for the Marriott School of Management, management students are required to take at least one three-credit management course every semester. Management majors can only defer a semester for internships, missions and military duty.

“All advisement centers wish that all their students would visit them early — in their freshman and sophomore years, get a good graduation plan and stick to it,” Gubler said in an email. “Connecting with their advisement center early is the best method for helping students stay on track and graduate in a timely manner.”

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