(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Missouri Western State University announced Monday that they will be reducing the number of required credit hours in order to graduate with a Bachelor's Degree.
The university stated that the reduction was done in order to "reduce costs for students and help them finish college in a timely manner."
According to a press release, Missouri Western will reduce the number of credit hours required to earn a bachelor's degree from 124 to 120 and will take effect the fall 2018 semester.
The credit requirements within major and minor programs will not change since the new standard only reduces the number of require elective hours.
“This change is an important part of our overall strategy to help more students earn their degrees within four years,” Dr. Jeanne Daffron, provost and vice president for academic affairs said. “Students will be able to take a manageable 15 credit hours per semester and graduate on time. Because this change applies to all students this fall, we may have some who will be ready to graduate a semester ahead of schedule or take a part-time course load and enter the workforce sooner than they anticipated.”
The new requirements comes as the university launches a new program called "Finish in 4" to help students finish their courses of study on time.
Missouri Western says that "Finish in 4" will give qualified, first-time freshmen who choose a major or pre-major in their first semester a clear, four-year plan to graduation.
“Finish in 4 will provide a roadmap to success for our incoming freshmen,” Dr. Paul Orscheln, associate vice president for enrollment management and retention said. “We not only will give them a plan to finish in four years, but we will give them the tools to follow the plan and persist to graduation.”
As part of "Finish in 4," an 'Early Intervention System' will help monitor academic progress to provide timely feedback and support for struggling students.
Incoming freshmen will be able to sign up for Finish in 4 during Griffon Orientation events this summer, or any time prior to the start of their first semester.
Missouri Western says that 'Finish in 4' and the reduced credit hour requirement are both parts of the university's efforts to bridge the affordability gap in higher education.
“Missouri Western remains a very affordable option compared to our peers, but we know that for more and more students around the country, higher education seems increasingly out of reach,” Dr. Orscheln said. “We want to do everything we can to make sure that a high-quality education is attainable for the students we serve.”
Missouri Western’s enrollment outlook for next year continues to look promising, Dr. Orscheln said, with applications for fall 2018 up more than 40 percent over last year and more than double from two years ago.
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