SA leaders outline proposals to offer free 18th credit

Updated: May 7, 2018 at 10:14 p.m.

Student Association leaders released a new report Monday advocating for the University to offer a free 18th credit.

The 19-page report, which served as a continuation of a broader SA affordability report released in March, proposed short- and long-term solutions to allow for students to take a free 18th credit under the fixed-tuition model. SA leaders suggested a pilot program for 500 students with a GPA of at least 3.6 to apply for a free 18th credit and called on University President Thomas LeBlanc to create a committee to review the fixed-tuition credit limit.

In the long term, SA leaders said the credit limit should expand to 18 or more credits under a fixed-tuition rate. The report also states that the University should develop a rolling system for students to carry unused credits from previous semesters into their next semesters, which would allow students to enroll in more than 17 credits.

The report outlined a “multi-tier system” for students to earn more credits based on academic standing and class level, which SA leaders said would put the University in line with peer institutions like Boston and Tulane universities. GW is the only university among its 12 peers to charge extra for an 18th credit, according to the report, which SA leaders said limits students’ ability to diversify the types of classes they take and may hinder students from graduating early or with multiple majors and minors.

“GW prides itself on being able to blend disciplines and educate students in both qualitative and quantitative fields,” the report reads. “However, the current credit limit makes it challenging for undergraduate students to embody this philosophy.”

Outgoing SA President Peak Sen Chua, who compiled the report with outgoing Executive Vice President Sydney Nelson, said he and Nelson presented the report to LeBlanc in March, and he hopes next year’s SA administration will be able to work with officials to implement the free credit.

SA President Ashley Le and Executive Vice President Ojani Walthrust both ran on platforms including a free 18th credit this spring.

“Charging them for additional credit, charging them for pursuing learning is antithetical to what the University stands for, which is learning and the pursuit of knowledge,” Chua said.

Students are currently permitted to take up to 17 credits each semester, with the exception of some students in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences or the University Honors Program. Currently, students are charged roughly $1,500 to take an extra credit.

Students overwhelmingly voted in favor of a referendum in March to instate a free 18th credit, with about 96 percent of students supporting the measure and about 65 percent saying they’d use an 18th credit if given the opportunity.

“Increasing the credit limit will place GW on par with its market basket and position it yet again to provide students an avenue to pursue ambitious opportunities and new perspectives,” the report states.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.