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Shepherd's revised curriculum saves students $369,000 in the first year of operation

ISSUED: 1 May 2012
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
(Shepherd's revised curriculum saves students $369,000 in the first year of operation)

Shepherdstown, WV--A year after reducing the number of credits required for a bachelor's degree through curriculum reform in general studies and in the majors and minors, 62 Shepherd University seniors will graduate one semester earlier. Shepherd's accelerated graduation has saved students on average $4,300 each, for a total savings of $369,000.

The university responded to calls nationally to enhance student access and success by reducing the time students take to earn their bachelor's degree. Shepherd's baccalaureate degree requirements went from 128 hours to 120 hours, and the newly revised curriculum was available to students in the fall of 2011.

"At a time when student debt and graduation rates are in the national spotlight, our faculty took great care to maintain the quality of the curriculum while being sensitive to our students' need to graduate in a timely manner," said Shepherd University President Suzanne Shipley. "We are committed to providing students the keys they seek to the world of work or graduate education. In this way, Shepherd is able to fulfill its position as a premier public liberal arts university."

According to the national education policy group Complete College America, one of the most significant inhibitors to student graduation is time. The more time students spend in college, the less likely it is that they will earn their bachelor's degree. The national average is 137 credits by the time students complete their degrees.

"Shepherd's change in policy to require 120 credits for graduation is one of many initiatives the university has implemented to help students obtain a quality degree in four years. Combined with enhancements to advising and course scheduling, the university continues to invest in student success," said Dr. Richard Helldobler, vice president for academic affairs.

"The acceleration of degree completion at Shepherd not only allows students to enter the workforce earlier," said Rick Staisloff, executive officer for strategic initiatives, "it saves students money they would have spent on tuition, fees, and room and board for another semester."

All students who entered Shepherd in fall 2011 were part of the 120-credit hour degree changes. Currently enrolled students had the option of selecting the new curriculum or continuing under the course catalog in effect when they enrolled at Shepherd.


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