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Push on a Ticking Time Bomb

In following my teacher’s blog, I came across a recent news that I certainly should be aware of because of my line of work as an academic advisor. As many know, financial means are often barriers for students attending college, especially low-income students who rely on federal financial aid. So, the recent campaign on “Fifteen to Finish” for students to take on 15-credits course loads pushed by the Obama administration had me thinking more on it, mainly because I was completely conflicted about it.

I do understand and agree with both sides of the issues mentioned in this article. If it was for me, as someone who received financial aid, then I would have no problems advocating for this. The purpose for this campaign would be beneficial to me, saving me time and money during my undergrad years.

However, if I had to choose an absolute side at this moment, then I am not for it. I am very certain that the success rate for the students that I work with will be abysmal. Also, keeping in mind of the failed attempt/requirement with the Washington Assessment of Student Learning as part of the No Child Left Behind Act scares me to think that the administrators and policy makers proposing this idea aren’t thinking things through clearly. Particularly with the impacts of resolving the issue when you know there will be an alarming number of students, perhaps even majority, who are pushed over the edge.

The many points I would have made are covered in the article and by many of the comments at the bottom. So, I encourage you to read from there instead of me reiterating these voices of concern. I will add that low-income, first-generation college students face a lot of challenges entering the community college. Topics in informing freshman, incoming students on how to be successful includes an array of issues, from non-cognitive skills to what college, academic “credits” means, especially in terms of expected hours inside and outside of class have to be addressed and taught to these students.

Additionally, it’s already difficult to work with students losing their financial aid because of the school load or other challenges. Also, how can you ask a student to take on more challenging, rigor of a load if they’re dealing and hopefully progressing (and I mean, quarter to quarter) in pre-college level, math AND/OR English classes. Isn’t the whole point in providing access to higher education is for them to take the right balance of course work, in terms of the various home, school, and work factors, to be successful.

What are your take on this? I would particularly love to here from those who would push for this campaign. I do understand that the intentions are good, but I am not so sure of the consequences that we will inevitably face.


3 thoughts on “Push on a Ticking Time Bomb

  1. This is interesting to me, especially I just had an article on financial aid come across my Twitter feed this morning. It was talking about how most college students know almost nothing about their student loans ( I’m sure that lack of knowledge helps influence courseloads. If students don’t understand their loans, they may not understand in depth about credit loads either.


    1. You share good points, Lynn. It’s really unfortunate; I have students who don’t understand the consequences of getting put on academic probation and losing their financial aid for a quarter or permanently. Then There are those who take out student loans and don’t know how to handle their finances properly and are in depth as you mentioned. Thank you for your article. It’s a short read, but perfect to share during “financial literacy” workshops with my students. Thanks!


    2. I read the Push on a ticking time bomb article and I oppose it too. Students are not the same. One student might be able to handle 15 credits per semester but another student might only be handle to handle 12. It does not take in account if students work or have other commitments. I understand the goal is to rush students in getting their degree and finishing in time but it should not be a race to do so. We all learn in different ways and the government should not dictate how many credits for students to take.


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