Under a bill passed this last legislative session, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education has the power to reduce the number of credit hours necessary to earn any college degree. The legislation sets the standard number of credit hours at 120 for a four-year degree and 60 for a two-year degree.
Colleges and universities will have to defend any degrees that call for more hours. Governor Daniels says high credit hour requirements have become a barrier to college completion.
“Ninety percent of current programs ask for more hours, which is to say more dollars, from our students. And they ought to be put under the microscope to make certain that’s really necessary,” Daniels says.
Indiana University President Michael McRobbie says he can live with the new regulation as long as the Commission is flexible.
“As long as one understands that there are lots of degrees that, in order to be professionally accredited, you need more credits than that, then I think we can work with this system,” McRobbie says.
Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers says the Commission is well aware that there are plenty of degree programs that will require more than 120 or 60 credit hours to complete.
“If it’s simply a matter of, over time, it taking more, with no sense that there is an improvement to the program or to the student, then you’d have to ask the question, ‘Why?’,” Lubbers says.
Lubbers says she hopes the law will push schools to lower credit hours on their own without the Commission’s intervention.