Board of Regents Resolution Regarding Student Degree/Certificate Completion

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Resolution passed by the Utah State Board of Regents outlining specific strategies to improve student completion of degrees and certificates at Utah public higher education institutions.

Resolution passed by the Utah State Board of Regents outlining specific strategies to improve student completion of degrees and certificates at Utah public higher education institutions.

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  • 1. RESOLUTION TO IMPLEMENT STRATEGIES TO INCREASE COMPLETION RATES IN SUPPORT OF THE 66% GOAL WHEREAS, 66% of jobs in Utah will require a postsecondary education by the year 2020, and the state’s economy depends on good family incomes, which require more of our young people to succeed in college; and WHEREAS, with the support of the Governor, business leaders and K-12 public education, the State Board of Regents established a goal of 66% of Utah’s adults attaining a post-secondary degree or certificate by the year 2020; and WHEREAS, the Utah System of Higher Education awards approximately three-quarters of all degrees and certificates awarded to Utahns annually; and WHEREAS, the Utah State Board of Regents is committed to improving the completion rates of students who enroll in an institution within the Utah System of Higher Education by ensuring a quality, cost-effective educational experience and awarding meaningful education credentials that will help students find gainful employment and life-long success; and WHEREAS, to achieve substantial gains towards the 66% goal, the Board of Regents is committed to encouraging best practices that can help Utah college students complete a certificate or degree; and WHEREAS, institutions within the Utah System of Higher Education are already implementing initiatives to improve completion rates of their students including: proactive intervention to boost student retention, jointly delivered degree programs for improved transfer and completion in bachelor’s programs, expansion of critical path courses by leveraging technology, improved first-year experience and counseling, and accelerated fulfillment of general education math requirements; and WHEREAS, Utah students who take 15 credits per semester are twice as likely to earn a certificate or degree as those who take 14 credits or fewer per semester (data show those students who take more credits will achieve better grades, enter the workforce sooner, and earn more money over their lifetime); and WHEREAS, tuition rate structures at institutions in the Utah System of Higher Education should encourage students to take a full 15-credit course load; and WHEREAS, students should be encouraged and enabled to earn stackable degrees and certificates as they pursue their postsecondary education; and WHEREAS, higher education institutions may assist students to navigate coursework toward a timely completion of a degree by more wide-spread use of graduation maps; and WHEREAS, improvements in the transition from developmental to credit-bearing math will improve graduation rates;
  • 2. THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the members of the Utah State Board of Regents recommend and encourage institutional presidents to implement practices in support of increasing college completion rates, specifically: ● Establish 15 credit hours per semester as the normal full-time course load for students seeking an associate or bachelor’s degree. Institutions are strongly encouraged to promote the recommended course load and ensure their own top scholarship requirements define 15 credit hours per semester, as full time, no later than the 2014-2015 academic year. ● Set plateau tuition levels with a focus on 12 to 15 credit hours to help students maximize their tuition dollars and their time. Institutions are strongly encouraged to promote the advantages of taking more than 12 credit hours per semester as a way to complete a degree one year earlier. ● Create semester-by-semester degree program maps with specific recommended courses each semester and make them available to current and potential students, ensure they are updated regularly to help students stay on track to finish their degrees on time and better enable institutions to maximize course scheduling availability for students. ● For students who have not already met general education math requirements in high school, through concurrent enrollment, Advanced Placement, or International Baccalaureate (1) encouraging students to enroll in an appropriate mathematics course in their first year of college, (2) encouraging institutions to adopt a strategy to transition students from developmental to credit-bearing math within three semesters, (3) marketing Math 1050 as a preferred concurrent enrollment option for high school seniors. ● During the next year the Chief Academic Officers, Chief Student Services Officers and institutions are charged with exploring the feasibility of implementing reverse transfer/stackable credentials where students who complete the requirements for an associate degree are automatically awarded the degree, by institutions that award associate degrees, without an application (or fee). This may include the feasibility of a policy allowing for the “reverse transfer” of credits where academic credit for coursework completed at a four year university are transferred back to a transfer student’s previous college to satisfy credentials such as a certificate or associate degree program requirements. The Commissioner shall report the System’s conclusions and recommendations to the Board by July 2014. Institutions within the Utah System of Higher Education will report to the Board in January and July of 2014 their progress in implementing these strategies. APPROVED BY THE BOARD OF REGENTS, July 19, 2013.