The UNC Policy Manual
Fifteen Hour Average Courseload Requirement for Full-Time Undergraduates
This Regulation sets annual goals and establishes guidelines for campuses to be in compliance with the board's 1993 Plan to Improve Graduation Rates and to meet the board's expectation that undergraduates enroll in at least 15 semester hours per term in order to graduate in four years. These annual goals and guidelines will also put each campus in compliance with Section 89(a), Senate Bill 27, of the 1993 Session Laws which states:
In order to monitor institutional progress in meeting the expectation of Item 1 of the "Plan to Improve Graduation Rates in the University of North Carolina" that full-time undergraduates will take an average of 15 semester hours per term, the Board of Governors shall require constituent institutions to set a goal of increasing to 15 the average number of credit hours per term taken by full-time undergraduates. This goal shall be met systemwide and by each constituent institution no later than December of 1997. The Board shall instruct all institutions to report on their progress in meeting their goals in their annual assessment reports. The Board shall require those institutions failing to make timely progress to submit special reports identifying additional steps to be taken. The Board shall report annually by April 1 to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on the progress of each constituent institution in meeting these goals.
It should be noted that neither the board's expectation nor this requirement changes the definition of a full-time undergraduate courseload from 12 to 15 credit hours, nor do they require that every full-time undergraduate carry 15 or more credit hours. Instead, they require that the courseloads of full-time undergraduates average at least 15 credit hours. Monitoring of the legislative requirement will be based on all regular session degree-creditable and remedial course hours taken by degree-seeking undergraduates as reported on the institution's fall and spring Student Data Files.
In accordance with Section 89(a), Senate Bill 27, of the 1993 Session Laws, the board issued its final progress report in March 1998. As noted in that report, the board recommended that it continue to monitor the average courseload of full-time undergraduates as part of its annual report on Time-To-Degree. To accomplish this task, the following guidelines shall continue to guide the campuses in submitting their annual reports.
In order to include the most current date in the annual report, while at the same time allowing sufficient time for responses from campuses not meeting goals to be prepared and summarized, the following schedule will be followed.
An average annual credit hour count for full-time undergraduates will be calculated in November of each year. It will include the credit hours reported on the spring and fall Student Data Files of that calendar year (not academic year). After the November calculation is made, any institution whose count is below its annual goal will be asked to report by the end of the following January on corrective steps to be taken in the new calendar year. Following receipt of the campus reports, a report will be prepared for board approval and for submission to the legislature before April 1.
Attached to this Regulation is a table entitled UNC Board of Governors Report on Average Credit Hours Taken by Full-Time Degree-Seeking Undergraduates (As required by Section 89(a), Senate Bill 27, 1993 Session Laws). It presents data on average annual credit hour counts and goals for UNC institutions for the years 1993 through 1998. Institutions above the 15-hour average in 1993 are required to maintain an average of 15 hours or more in each of these years.