Chart: The Costs of Excess Credits
(Click on either chart above to go to its source article)
These charts come to us courtesy of articles by Danielle Douglas-Gabriel of the Washington Post and Melissa Korn of the Wall Street Journal. Both provide us some detail on the costs associated with taking more courses than necessary for the completion of a degree. We get two today because this has been a public policy hot topic of late with states looking to trim their higher education budgets. After all, it costs money to offer classes, and when a student at a state school continues to rack up credit hours beyond graduation requirements it affects the bottom line of both.
The majority of students do take, and pay for, more classes than necessary. This can happen for any number of reasons, including remedial coursework to get up to speed with academia’s rigors, exploration, and the switching of majors. In some cases schools require certain majors to earn more credits than the standard 60/120 hours required for associate’s/bachelor’s degrees.
Whatever the case, according to Ms. Douglas-Gabriel the typical student graduates with 138.4 credits and according to Ms. Korn that number is 134. These averages do not consider non-credited courses due to fails and early withdrawals, which apparently accounts for as much as another 20.3 credit hours paid for but not earned per student.
Multiply these excess classes by the cost per credit hour and you can quickly see that it pays to graduate college in a streamlined fashion. When in a most literal sense time = money, good financial management = good transcript management. Students need to pre-plan their route to graduation from the get-go in order to keep the explorations, remediations, and cancellations to a bare minimum.
Elsewhere we’ve detailed how to take classes on the cheap. This is especially important for those with “undecided” majors or those who simply want to take classes for enjoyment and interest purposes.