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Colleges Push Students to Take 15 Credit Hours

Utah’s higher education officials launched a campaign today to encourage students to enroll in at least 15 credit hours a semester. The message of the campaign: “time is the enemy” when it comes to college completion. 

The “15 to Finish” campaign includes a 30 second video and digital posters displayed on monitors across Utah’s college and university campuses. It also includes ads in student newspapers, social media promotions, and stickers that say "I registered for 15 credits".

"To kind of create a new culture, a new normal that 15 credits, is what you should be doing rather than 12," says Higher Education Spokesperson Pamela Silberman.

Silberman says full time is technically defined as at least 12 credit hours a semester. But because most degrees require 120 credits to complete, a student taking 12 hours each semester will not achieve a degree in four years.

“They’re going to save money by finishing more quickly because they can cut down a whole year of school," Silberman says. "Also because at most of our institutions it costs exactly the same to take twelve credits or fifteen credits, so those extra credits are basically free.”

Silberman says data show that part time students are unlikely to finish their degree at all. She says many students take 12 or fewer credit hours because they also work. But she notes, students will save money by working less and getting out of school faster.

“I think the biggest barrier is just that students think that it would be too difficult to do it," Silberman says. "But again the data don’t support that. The data support that actually, you will do better if you take more credits.

Silberman says the idea is to get the message out while students are registering for their spring semester. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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