The 140 Credit Hour Act

The 140 Credit Hour Act

Summary

The 140 Credit Hour Act would impose a 25 percent tuition surcharge on students who take more than 140 credit hours to complete a baccalaureate degree in a four-year program at any state-supported college or university or more than 110 percent of the credit hours necessary to complete a baccalaureate degree in a five-year program. This act will also prohibit colleges and universities subject to this act from counting students in its full-time equivalent count for funding purposes after the student has reached the 140 credit hour limit in a four-year program or 110 percent in a five-year program.

Model Legislation

Section 1. {Title} The 140 Credit Hour Act.

Section 2. 

(A) A 25 percent tuition surcharge is imposed on students who take more than 140 credit hours to complete a baccalaureate degree in a four-year program at any state-supported college or university of this state or more than 110 of the credit hours necessary to complete a baccalaureate degree in any program designated by {insert name of state commission on higher education} as a five-year program at any state supported college or university of this state. The calculation of these credit hours taken at a college or university or accepted for transfer shall exclude hours earned through the college board’s advanced placement or CLEP examinations, through institutional advanced placement or course validation, or through summer term or extension programs.

(B) A surcharge may not be imposed on a student who exceeds the degree credit hour limits within the equivalent of four academic years of regular term enrollment, or within five academic years of regular term enrollment in a degree program officially designated by the {insert name of state commission on higher education} as a five-year program.

(C) The undergraduate credit hours counted for this requirement include all regular session degree creditable courses taken at any institution, including repeated courses, failed courses, and courses dropped after the official census date (normally the last day to add a course).

(D)

(1) The tuition surcharge required by subsection (A) must be imposed beginning with the next semester or quarter.

(2) This surcharge must be imposed on all counted credit hours in excess of the threshold for each of the following three categories of undergraduates:

(a) For a student earning a first baccalaureate degree in a program that requires no more than 128 credit hours, the surcharge must be applied to all counted credit hours in excess of 140.

(b) For a student earning a first baccalaureate degree in a {insert name of state commission on higher education} approved program that requires more than 128 counted credit hours, the surcharge must be applied to all credit hours that exceed 110 percent of the credit hours required for the degree. Those programs include those that have officially been designated by {insert name of state commission on higher education} as five-year programs, as well as those involving double majors or combined bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

(c) For a student earning a baccalaureate degree other than the first, the surcharge must be applied to all counted credit hours that exceed 110 percent of the minimum additional credit hours needed to earn the additional baccalaureate degree.

(E) The surcharge must be imposed on tuition charged in the current semester and in subsequent semesters in which a student’s cumulative credit hour total, with the current semester’s course load included, exceeds the threshold. The surcharge does not apply to required fees.

(F) An institution subject to the provisions of this section may not count a student in its full-time equivalent count for funding purposes after the student has accumulated 140 credit hours in a four-year program or has exceeded by 110 percent the number of hours designated for a five-year program by {insert name of state commission on higher education}.

Approved by the ALEC Legislative Board of Directors May, 2001.

Keyword Tags: Higher Education

Task Forces