15 hours a semester future norm

Starting Fall 2014, UH will take measures to encourage students to take a minimum of 15 credit hours a semester.

Commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Raymund Paredes said to the UH Board of Regents on Feb. 26 that mandating that students take 15 credit hours per semester to be considered a full-time student would be a key boost to the success of higher education institutions.

“Going from being a part-time to a full-time student increases his or her chance of graduation by 50 percent,” Paredes said. “We recommend 15 credit hours for full-time status to become the standard, and we strongly urge students to take 15 hours a semester or 30 hours a year.”

Some colleges throughout Texas have already implemented this 15-hour minimum standard, and University administrators are considering jumping on the wagon.

UH is responding to these suggestions by piloting the “UH in 4” program in Fall 2014. With a task force led by Teri Longacre, vice provost and dean for undergraduate student success, UH in 4 aims to provide and spread awareness about tools concerning degree plans and offer incoming freshmen a preset, fixed-tuition, four-year degree plan.

“This new initiative will set first-time-in-college students on track to graduate in four years,” said Provost Paula Short. “By signing up for UH in 4, students will save money, save time and enter their careers or graduate study even faster.”

UH in 4 also serves as a response from Texan lawmakers requiring universities to create four-year fixed-tuition plans.

“We understand that not every student can, will or should commit to a four-year plan, but for those who can and do, their benefits include not only a predictable tuition bill, but also extensive support services,” Short said. “The University of Houston will provide four-year academic maps, ensure course availability, provide academic advising resources, degree planning and monitoring tools, annual degree progress evaluations and no tuition and fees beyond four years — if UH is responsible for any delay.”

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