Rule proposed to regulate college credit hours

An empty classroom

HOST: The House Education Committee takes up a bill today that would repeal some new rules aimed at colleges that receive federal student aid. The rules are scheduled to take affect next month. Supporters of the bill say the rules overstep the government's authority.

From the Marketplace Education Desk at WYPR in Baltimore, Amy Scott reports.


AMY SCOTT: One of the new rules will define a credit hour so that an algebra credit at one college is worth roughly the same at another.

The federal government awards financial aid based on credits. And it doesn't want schools awarding excess credits to speed students to graduation or charge more money. The rule defines a credit hour as one hour of class and two hours of outside work each week or for an online course or internship an equivalent amount of work.

SYLVIA MANNING: With the definition, they will know nothing more than they know now.

Sylvia Manning is president of the Higher Learning Commission -- which accredits many for-profit colleges. She says groups like hers already police educational quality.

MANNING: Saying how long the student sat in the classroom, or how much homework the student does, doesn't tell you anything about whether the student learned anything.

Manning's group has been criticized for approving a for-profit college that offered nine-credit courses. She says the group granted initial accreditation but required the university to fix the problem.

I'm Amy Scott for Marketplace.

About the author

Amy Scott is Marketplace’s education correspondent covering the K-12 and higher education beats, as well as general business and economic stories.

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