Alcorn decreases credit hour requirement, supports 4-year degree completion

With the start of the 2016-2017 academic year, Alcorn is reducing the credit hour requirement for baccalaureate level degrees from 124 to 120.

“The reduction in credit hours aligns with our goal of promoting completion in four years and have no delays entering the job market,” President Alfred Rankins Jr. said. “This important change reduces costs and debt load for Alcorn students, encouraging full-time, continuous enrollment and timely degree completion.”

Most classes are worth three credit hours, although some earn students one or two credit hours, meaning students may take more than 40 classes. Rather than taking more than five classes in a semester, some working students found it easier to enroll an additional semester, a decision that likely helped them preserve higher grades but increased total college expenses. Unable to pay for another semester, some students opted to return to school later, prolonging degree completion.

The new requirement means students are more likely to graduate in four years, getting them into the workforce or graduate school sooner and reducing college costs.

“We must continue to do all that we can to better serve our students,” Rankins said.

The change is the second in an enrollment management plan to increase access, affordability and retention. Rankins eliminated out-of-state tuition in the first phase, a significant expense reduction designed to boost affordability and retain more students.

“For various reasons, students did not complete 124 hours in eight semesters,” Alcorn Executive Vice President and Provost Donzell Lee said. “With this initiative, if a student successfully completes 15 credit hours each semester, degree completion is achievable in four years.”

Lee applauded the Alcorn Council of Deans and Directors for enthusiastically supporting the 120-hour degree.

“This change is consistent with national conversations on timely degree completion,” Lee said.