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Bill Would Standardize Number Of Hours Per College Degree

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education would be able to dictate how many credit hours it takes to graduate under a bill currently in the state Senate.

Ivy Tech

Photo: Ivy Tech Community College

The Indiana Commission on Higher Education will get to decide how long degrees take.

The bill in the Indiana Senate addresses the problem some are calling “credit creep” – that some degrees require more credit hours than necessary to graduate. The bill would allow the Indiana Commission for Higher Education to dictate how many credit hours college and university students would need to graduate.

Rep. Rhonda Rhoads’ (R-Corydon) legislation sets the standard number of hours for an associate’s degree at 60 and the number of hours for a bachelor’s degree at 120. All public colleges and universities would then have to justify to the Commission for Higher Education why a degree needs more hours.

Still, Rhoads says she understands some degree programs will reasonably need more than 60 or 120 hours.

“For the most part, there are many they shouldn’t require that much,” she says. “We bring that down, it brings the cost down.”

But Sen. Tim Skinner (D-Terre Haute) says he is concerned about the authority being given to the Commission for Higher Education, noting its role has typically been advisory.

“I think we’re getting into territory that may pose some problems, I think, for students and the schools,” Skinner says.

Skinner says the Commission could present recommendations but should leave the ultimate decisions to the schools.

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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