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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Increasing units for full-time status pressures UA students

    The Arizona Board of Regents recently discussed the idea of increasing the credit hour requirements of full-time status from 12 to 15 units for UA students. Members of the Financial Aid Task Force who supported the idea said it would be a “performance incentive” for students. But 12 units is the perfect number of credit hours for a student to be considered full-time and should not change.

    The current 12-unit requirement is about four classes per semester. For those who had a half-day option in high school, four classes was the workload that students dreamed of. Especially at the university level, these four classes are a perfect amount of work.

    Taking four classes motivates students to go to class if it’s only one or two a day, as opposed to skipping a morning class in preparation for the later three. It also gives students more free time to put their energy towards homework, extracurricular activities or sports.

    Eighty-five percent of students reported feeling stressed on a daily basis, according to a 2009 Associated Press mental health poll of more than 2,200 college students across 40 colleges and universities. Adding more required credits certainly won’t make that percentage go down.

    While a college education is important, students need time to themselves to relax. Whether it’s taking yoga classes, playing sand volleyball or curling up in bed with a movie, students need that time in order to avoid burning out.

    Some regents argue that increasing the requirement to 15 units will motivate students to graduate on time or even early, saving them money. But the time it takes students to graduate or how much money students save should be entirely their decision, not determined by a requirement level meant to pressure them.

    Some students must take 15 credits to keep scholarships, such as the Wildcat Excellence Award. While the 12-credit requirement is a solid minimum requirement for full-time students, 15 credit hours is for students who go above and beyond.

    At freshman orientation, academic advisers usually recommend that students start out with 12 credits in order to get into the swing of things before increasing their workload, unless a scholarship says otherwise.

    If this idea is adopted by the Arizona Board of Regents, students could find themselves struggling to be considered a full-time student. Students should be able to choose between 12 and 15 credits based on what is achievable at an individual level.

    — Ashley T. Powell is a journalism sophomore. She can be reached at or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

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