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Published April 11 2012

NDSU wants 15 credits to be the norm

WILLISTON – 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 in Williston.

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 2013-15 budget request and issues related to the state’s oil boom.

The systemwide 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:

Readers can reach Forum reporter Marino Eccher at (701) 241-5502

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