By Lauren Foote
Minimum credit hour requirements for Youngstown State University undergraduates dropped from 124 credit hours to 120 this semester.
Student representatives in the Academic Senate initiated the change.
Jacob Schriner-Briggs, executive vice president of YSU’s Student Government Association, said he and Michael Slavens developed the change as co-chairs of the Senate’s Academic Standards Committee.
“We endeavored to pass policies through the Academic Senate that would help students graduate in four years.” Schriner-Briggs said.
The Academic Standards committee looked at peer institutions and found that many had already made the switch to 120 hours. The University of Akron currently requires undergraduates to earn 120 credits, and Kent State University requires 121 credit hours.
The committee made a recommendation to the full senate, which passed the legislation.
Briggs said one of their goals was to reduce costs to students.
“Now programs on campus have the ability to reduce the number of hours they require, enabling students to avoid paying for extra and even unnecessary classes,” Schriner-Briggs said. “If a program drops its hours from 124 to 120, which saves the impacted student $1,080 ($270 per hour) according to the university itself.”
Schriner-Briggs said it might also reduce the amount of time students spend in college.
“Anecdotal evidence has suggested that some students have been required to enroll for additional terms purely because they were one class short of YSU’s hour requirement — this change would prevent that from happening.” Schriner-Briggs said.
Martin Abraham, YSU provost, said these changes are connected to the administration’s focus on having students graduate in four years.
“By decreasing the number of total hours required, we are able to reduce student costs and provide greater opportunities for them to graduate in four years.” Abraham said.
Jeanne Herman, University Registrar, said the change also adheres to a state initiative requiring universities to reduce costs to students.
“We, as an institution, felt reducing the hours from 124 to 120 was the right thing to do, and it was keeping with the requirements set by the Ohio Board of Regents,” Herman said.
The administration has worked with the senate executive committee to implement the senate’s motion in a timely manner, consistent with the limitations and appropriate academic timelines.
Abraham said that certain programs would still require students to log over 120 hours in order to meet all requirements.
“Fulfilling all degree requirements is a key element,” Abraham said.” That means all general education requirements, all major requirements, any minor requirements and other programmatic requirements (such as a field experience), or anything else that is otherwise required.”