By Adam Hornbuckle
As of fall 2017, the degree plan for most baccalaureate students will be reduced to a 120 credit plan of studies, replacing the current 129 credit plan of studies required to obtain most bachelor’s degrees. Students currently on 129 credit plans will be able to switch to 120 credit plans with no stipulations; all incoming freshmen will be put on 120 credit plans.
“You go to your advisors and they can put you on the new plan” Dr. John Lutz, a professor in the department of the English, said. Lutz who led a committee which pioneered the 120 credit initiative, cited a ordability as a motivation for the reduction in required credits. “The nine credits has shaved off $11,000 or $12,000 for people’s degrees” he said.
In addition to a ordability, Lutz cited university competitiveness as a major motivation for the new plans of study as well. “If students opt to go on the new plan, our four year or six year completion rate goes up right away; but we will see a big difference in four years from now; most universities have 120 credit standards,” he said.
Lutz noted that the location of the nine credits being reduced varies from department to department. “I’ve worked on this with departments. For some programs, one of the things we did is reduce our core curriculum requirement by six credits,” he said. Lutz attributed the initiative’s inception to the university’s 10-year strategic plan. Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, Jeffrey Kane, who led efforts to design the university’s 2015 strategic plan, is excited to present this 120 credit plan to the student body.
“This change is all about students; it will very likely increase graduation rates and decrease student debt…the new credit structure will likely result in a decreased financial burden on students by shortening the time it takes to graduate,” Kane said.
Kane confirmed the fall semester implementation, “Working with the deans and faculty, we have taken the steps necessary to begin the change coinciding with the start of the September 2017 school year. I have also been in contact with officials from the New York State Department of Education to implement it.” Kane indicated that student response to the 120 credit change has been “very positive.”