College Students Will Pay More for Waffling on Choice of Major

(KCPW News)  Utah college students who wait too long to pick a major will soon have to pay more to complete their degree due to a policy change announced today by the State Board of Regents.   Students who accumulate credit hours in excess of 125% of the number necessary to graduate will be hit with a tuition surcharge of twice the year’s tuition rate.

“We’re not really looking at it as a way to raise more money off of students.  We want students to be serious about their studies, which I think most are, and decide what they are going to major in and move forward as quickly as they can,” says Commissioner of Higher Education Dave Buhler.  “It’s in their interest and it’s in the state’s interest.”

Buhler says excess credit hours isn’t a big issue in the state, but adds the old threshold of 135% was too high.  The change was made as part of the state’s effort to have two-thirds of Utah adults hold a degree or trade certificate by the year 2020.  And Buhler says more changes are in the offing.

“We’re not where we need to be, or where we want to be, where so many students come into college and for a myriad of reasons do not leave with a degree or a certificate in their hand.  That should be rare, not what happens to so many students,” says Buhler.

As part of the policy change the Board of Regents is also requiring state colleges to develop a process of notifying students of the surcharge and to clarify how the number of credit hours necessary for graduation is determined.