Grilling the cost of summer session

Overstretched tuition costs spoil appeal for students to attend summer session.

Obtaining financial aid to help cover the costs of summer tuition is a headache for many students because of the qualifications they must meet prior to applying for assistance. Taking extra courses to meet these requirements takes time away from students that is needed to hold a job to pay living expenses. With tuition being so expensive, the University should recognize the obstacles that students face in affording summer education.

To qualify for summer aid, an undergraduate student must be enrolled for at least six credits and graduate students must be enrolled for three credits. The University does not provide any type of loans for credits fewer than those standards. Students are forced to either seek outside loans to pay for summer tuition, or enroll in extra classes – essentially paying more in order to qualify for aid.

Another obstacle students face during summer term is that the University keeps full-time status at 12 credits all year. Because summer classes generally are more vigorous than standard semesters, it is extremely difficult to balance a “full-time” schedule.

Lowering the full-time standard from 12 credits to a more reasonable amount, such as eight credits, would make it possible for students to benefit from the same incentives full-time students in the fall or spring enjoy. The most advantageous policy is the 13-credit policy, which allows students to take all classes over 13 credits for free. A similar policy with lesser credit criteria would benefit ambitious students who take summer courses.

As it stands, summer tuition costs are ludicrous. Many students have to work while taking intensive classes. For an institution that pushes a four-year graduation goal, the fact that there is less aid available for students who choose to spend their summer focusing on academics and work toward a degree is ironic.

Even taking one summer course easily can cost more than $1,000. Incentives like lowering the full-time credit requirement or dissolving the minimum requirement to qualify for aid would encourage more students to take advantage of summer term and would increase the amount of students who are able to graduate in four years.