University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler recently announced that the University would test a year-round calendar for two programs within the College of Design, the Minnesota Daily reported Feb. 11. The calendar, which would add an additional standardized term in the summer, has not been popular in the past, but Kaler is hoping that the opportunity to take classes and graduate earlier will attract students with strict graduation plans.
As long as University departments do not begin forcing students to take required core classes in the summer, there is no real disadvantage to having a more structured summer term in place. Brought up on relaxing during the summer months, students may be reluctant to give them up for class, but if it helps them graduate faster or lessens the intensity of fall and spring semester course loads, the addition of a standardized summer term will be beneficial.
There are a few logistical issues that may come up with a full transition to a year-round calendar; financial aid supplements and semester-based student loans may have to change in order to recognize the trimester system. And there are many students who use summer for working or completing major-related internships. However, simply giving students the option to continue their education full time through the summer shouldn’t impact those who wish to take a break or work between the fall and spring semesters.
With credit inflation and the constant threat of tuition and fees increasing, students deserve every chance available to complete their degrees in a timely fashion. The year-round calendar would help students do that and allow the University to experiment with an alternative education programs.
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