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June 16, 2024

Tuition may be based on credit load

April 26, 2007

UW-River Falls administrators discuss the possibility of having students pay for tuition according to the number of credits taken per semester rather than paying for credits under the current plateau system.

Under this system, tuition is the same amount for students taking 12 credits a semester and others taking 15 credits. The per-credit tuition system would require students taking 15 credits to pay.

“The idea is not to generate more revenue at all,” Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Mary Halada said. “Per credit makes the mechanics very much easier.”

Halada said this will become more important as transfer agreements between other colleges are signed, which allow students to take classes at two different colleges.

“A student may be taking three credits at another college,” she said. “Per credit allows us to know how to split up tuition.”

Provost Charlie Hurt said the University wants to get rid of the plateau where credits after 12 are essentially free.

“We need to be careful because we don’t want to slow students down in terms of graduation,” Hurt said.

He said the change is not to hurt students using the current tuition as a financial aid source.

Junior Anna Lee and sophomore Ashley Burbul said they disagree with the idea.

“I think its bullshit,” Lee said. “I always take a full class load. If they make it per credit, they are punishing people who take more.”

While Hurt and Halada said the switch shouldn’t slow students down, Lee said she believes it will because if students can’t afford to take higher credits than the full-time load, it will take them more years to satisfy University requirements.

“It makes it harder for people to get out of school on time,” Lee said.

Burbul said the idea seemed like how much money students had would determine how many credits they took.

“I think it’s a bad idea because if students can only afford to take a certain amount of credits per semester, then they will be here longer,” Burbul said. “If that was the way that it was for me, I know that I wouldn’t be able to afford the maximum amount of credits. I think over time, it would really only cost students more.”

UW-Stout is currently the only UW institution that has pay-per-credit tuition. It started phasing the system with new freshmen students in fall 2002, according to the University’s 2001-2002 annual report.

Adam Butterfield is a junior at UW-Stout and said it definitely determines how many credits he takes a semester.

“I didn’t get much financial aid, so I could only take so many credits and had to pay for the rest out-of-pocket,” Butterfield said. “[Switching to this] probably wouldn’t be a good thing because some people take a lot of classes and it kind of puts a cap on how many classes you take.”

Though the idea is still being discussed, Halada said if it were to be finalized and implemented, the earliest it would happen would be fall semester 2008. She also said the tuition change would happen in phases.

New students would pay tuition per credit and current students would continue to pay the plateau tuition.

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