Kentucky House Passes Bill to Limit Credit Hours for Obtaining Degrees

This week the Kentucky House of Representatives passed /files/2/0/0/6/0/216301-206002/Kentucky_House_Bill_160.doc”>House Bill 160 would limit credit hour requirements for all bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degree programs to 120 hours; and limit all associate of arts and associate of science degrees to 60 credit hours. The bill would, however, allow the Council on Postsecondary Education to approve exceptions to the requirement for “specialized programs that comply with specific program standards established by external accreditation bodies or for other reasons deemed necessary by the council. The stated intention of the measures is to increase the four-year graduation rate of students in public universities.

In my opinion, working toward a seamless transition from community and technical colleges to four-year public universities is a great idea. I believe that such a system would be in the best interests of both students and the Commonwealth’s post-secondary system. I will admit, however, that the General Assembly’s desire to dictate to colleges and universities the maximum number of credit hours for completion of associates and bachelors degrees was a bit startling to me. Upon hearing about the proposed measure, I decided to take a  totally non-scientific perusal of credit hour requirements for bachelors degrees at the University of kentucky and Bluegrass Community and Technical College. I found that that by and large, most degree programs do not require more than 120 credit hours for the completion of the bachelors degree or 60 credit hours for completing associates degrees. But I continue to wonder why the Kentucky House finds it necessary or even reasonable to legislate requirements for college degree programs. Admittedly, as a university professor I have some biases, but what expertise in degree program design does the General Assembly posses that university faculty and administrators are lacking? Really, I would like to know.

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