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kand

Reduced credit load

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My dd has just finished an associates degree and has been accepted as a transfer at a local university. She has a number of medical issues we are trying to sort out, and I’ve been encouraging her to take a medical deferment, but now she’s thinking she really wants to plow ahead with school without taking a break. She’s suggesting that she could just take a reduced courseload initially. I’ve looked all over the school website, and the only places I see that referenced is as regards to international students and keeping their visas, or students receiving financial aid, who have to arrange for a reduced credit load through disability services in order to continue being eligible for aid. Neither of those situations apply to her. She does actually have a documented need for accommodations due to diagnosed ADHD, though she hasn’t been making use of them the last few quarters at the community college. I expect if necessary, she could get a doctors note documenting a medical need for a reduced load right now as well.

is this possible? Are special arrangements even necessary? I see something about transfer students who enter with more than 90 credits only have a certain number of quarters to graduate, and it seems to me that number would require taking a full load every quarter. Is that likely true, or would that be unusual? She is supposed to schedule an advising session very soon if she’s going to go, so I suppose these are things she could ask there, but I expect she’s going to be really resistant to telling anyone in person about any of her issues. I don’t just think that actually, I know that. She’d rather suck it up and register for 1 million credits than have to talk to anyone about this stuff. We’re working on it. 

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Usually, the amount of hours only matters for scholarships or if she needs to maintain full time status for another reason (used to be that full time students could stay on parent’s medical insurance longer- but that has changed), or if a particular program required full time. 

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$$ is the potential issue here -- as CityMouse said, if she has a scholarship that requires a minimum credit load. Also Pell Grants are only awarded for a certain number of semesters -- if it takes longer to graduate because of doing fewer credits, those last semesters may have to be funded without federal financial aid help.

Not suggesting she *should* plow ahead due to financial concerns, because it is NOT worth risking your health, when a medical deferment might take care of both the medical issue AND the financial concerns... BEST of luck, and hope she continues to get stronger and "well-er" health wise! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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Here’s the relevant section of the website that concerned me: 

The 210-credit rule

The University’s satisfactory progress policy requires students to complete their undergraduate degree programs within 30 credits beyond the minimum required for the degree. Because most degrees require 180 credits, students generally must complete their programs by the time they earn 210 credits. The timing for enforcement of this policy is as follows:

  • For a student who first matriculates at the University on a freshman application the satisfactory progress policy is enforced after a student has completed 12 academic-year quarters, not including summer quarters, at the University.
  • For a student who first matriculates on a transfer application, the satisfactory progress policy is enforced after the student has completed
    • Twelve (12) quarters at the University if the student enters with less than one year of college work (less than 45 credits transferred from another institution).
    • Nine (9) quarters at the University if the student enters the University with more than one year of college work and less than two years (more than 44 and less than 90 credits transferred from another institution).
    • Six (6) quarters at the University if the student enters with two or more years of college work (90 or more credits transferred from another institution).

Undergraduates who have completed over 210 credits will be notified by email the third week of the quarter that a block is being placed on their registration due to lack of satisfactory progress. Students ineligible to graduate will be permitted to register for succeeding quarters only if they receive approval from their department and college after filing a graduation plan.

_________________________
Now that I’ve looked at it again, I think I misunderstood it the first time, and that it actually would be okay.  She falls under the transfer student transferring with more than 90 credits. I think it’s saying that once she has been at the University for 6 quarters, this policy would go into affect if she hits 210 credits. So it appears to be more about people staying at the University too long while not making progress to their degree, it’s not saying that they have to complete their degree within two years, which is what I thought it was saying. Phew. This would actually make it workable for her to start next quarter. If she could only take one class, that would be the best of both worlds for her.

As a follow-up question, do universities usually allow a student to take a quarter off, or not? I’m just wondering if that process is different than a deferment before even starting.

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I am an academic advisor at our department. A reduced academic load only becomes a problem if the student is required to maintain full-time student status for financial aid or health insurance purposes, or if the student is at one of those few academic institutions that do not permit students to remain beyond 4 years (most schools have no such rule).

We regularly have students who, for whatever reasons, carry less than a full academic load. Not an issue at all, and no special permission is needed. You just sign up for fewer credits.

Students also take semesters off, usually because of medial issues. Those are processed through the registrar's office; I would encourage your student to check whether there are any special forms required.

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Depending upon how many hours she is taking, she may be considered a part-time student rather than a full-time student.  That could impact things like whether she gets free tickets to sporting events on campus or parking arrangements--which will all depend upon the specific school's policies.

If she is receiving any type of financial aid, there can be definitions of progress toward completion that could come into play.  For example, a student must complete 75% of the registered hours during the academic year.  A student who registers for 12 hours can drop a class, remain at 9 hours, and meet that requirement.  A student who only registers for 9 hours and wants to drop a class will be at only 66%.  But, at any school I know of, a student may ask for an exception (illness, etc.) and have a plan to move forward and still receive financial aid without meeting the 75% rule.  It is POSSIBLE that at some point down the road she would bump into one of these situations, but I would not make decisions about how many hours to take based upon that; I would wait and deal with it should it come up. 

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