Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

August 2, 2007

No more dropping college courses

Filed under: education, Texas, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board — texased @ 11:56 am

I don’t get it.

Legislation limits college courses that may be dropped

The 80th Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 1231 limiting the number of courses an institution of higher learning may allow an undergraduate student to drop. SB 1231 will affect any student enrolled as a first-time freshman at Lamar University and all other Texas universities and colleges, beginning in the fall 2007 semester.

The bill requires the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to adopt and enforce new rules established in the bill. The coordinating board defines a “dropped course” as a course an undergraduate student at an institution of higher education has enrolled in for credit but did not complete.

The new rules prohibit an institution of higher education from allowing a student to drop more than six courses during their undergraduate program, including any courses a transfer student has dropped at another university.

Is the only consequence that the student get a failing grade? What’s the purpose? Force students to fail more classes, lowering their gpa so that they drop out and don’t use anymore state resources? Now I know that there are students that will drop a class to preserve a gpa so that they can get into graduate school but surely they must be a minority?

Don’t most students have to maintain a certain number of hours to keep their financial aid or full-time student status? I know one semester I dropped both government classes after the first day of class and added two English instead. Would that have counted?

Is this supposed to save the state money somehow?

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  1. States help fund their public colleges. I know one college that is funded 50% by state and federal funds. Sometimes students drop many more than 6 classes. I can see how it would cost tax-payers money because tax-payers paid for 1/2 or more of that class and did not receive the intended result – college credit – hours earned toward a degree. I think limiting to 6 classes is being fair. 6 classes seem like a reasonable number to me.

    There are students who drop a great deal more than 6 classes. If a student dropped every class for multiple semesters, I would see this has a problem. Unfortunely it does happen.

    In TX, persons with significant visual or hearing impair are entitled to free tuition in TX public colleges. My biased experience has been that 99% of students receiving these benefits utilize them well and responsibly. However, it can happen that such an individual drops many classes. It seems fair to me to draw a line somewhere with this issue.

    I support this idea – even if it allowed students to continue at the same college but have their tuition increased to an amount estimated to not include state & federal funding.

    Comment by Elizabeth J — August 7, 2007 @ 6:26 pm

  2. Probably a needless question, but does this Bill 1231 apply only to state institutions? And does it apply equally to four year schools and community colleges? And will it apply to high school students taking dual credit courses?

    Set second questions involves competion: how do you see this Bill affecting standings of students in state collegs compared to private colleges since this bill will definitely have an effect on grades? Along those same lines, how do you see this bill affecting standings of students in Texas state colleges as compared to other states?

    In my opinion, it definitely will present a skewed picture. Since this is now a Bill, I think there should be some provision whereby a penealty could be paid and additional courses could be dropped.

    Thank you for you comments on my questions.

    Jacqualea Cooley

    Comment by jacqualea cooley — August 24, 2007 @ 2:03 am

  3. I don’t know about anybody else, but I paid a little over $60000.00 to have my daughter complete school at Texas A&M in undergraduate school. I do not think the state has any right to determine the courses for my children’s education unless they want to pay 100% of the bill. Just like public school. I pay taxes to the state and I pay college tuition. My children have every right to determine their course of study and if not, we the people of this great state are giving up a right we paid for(to choose our own education) and like the dictators the world over, our government is slowly determing our destiny for each of us. If you think you are saving the state money by penalizing college student for changing classes you had better wake up and look around you. If the state politicals cared about saving money they would fix our streets and highways so that they would last more than 60 days at a time. They would wonder why their policies for our education system keep our teachers and children dumbed down. All they really want is more money to spend. It’s as simple as that. Greed.

    Comment by Paul Brown — October 2, 2007 @ 9:15 pm

  4. I think I have a double perspective on this issue as I am a parent of college students and a returning student myself. As a student, most of my professors have gone above and beyond their duties to ensure fairness and keep the best interest and education of the student first and foremost. A few however seem to be on some kind of a power trip to make the student feel like a groveling peon that needs to understand that the professor wheels all the power with his grade pencil. Still a few others are on the other side of the coin and are so neglectful of their class that they don’t even take the time to ensure that the tests answers on their master copy are correct and won’t listen when brought to their attention, both of which are extremely frustrating to a student as myself that is very conscientious of his/her work and studies beyond what is expected. Worst case there are even a few professors with tenure that like to ‘drink’ their lunch and can’t even stand up straight for their own lectures. Yes this is true!

    Anyway, all that is to say that students need ways out of ‘bad classes’ such as these without penalty. If the school can penalize a student for dropping more than 6 why can’t I get my money back for a class with that has a drunken professor? Seems like a double standard for which the school wins in both cases.

    In addition, it is difficult to find out in advance a class syllabus or information regarding a professor so that a student can decide if they should take a class. Most classes are just really getting going in 12 days (the time allowed to drop) for which a student might not yet have realized the full workload/grading scale for a class.

    Finally, if the legislatures are going to allow this ridiculous rule to remain intact, then they need to make professor/class rating systems available to all students BEFORE they take a class so that they can make informed decisions regarding their schedules. As it is now the few websites that post professor ratings are under attack by the education system itself. Don’t start treating college students like children, we all know where the k-12 public school system is going!

    Comment by K. Robinson — October 4, 2007 @ 3:23 pm

  5. I have 2 sons. One sons took way too many hours and had 2 drop 2 classes. The other son took a subject he could not possibly comprehend and had to drop. Now they want to change their majors, but they are scared they may not be able to perform, so they want to take a safe easy major that doesn’t pay anything. This is their very first semester and already their dreams of masters and doctorates are being destroyed by a 6 class limit. They don’t understand the details on physics until they try it. They don’t understand they hate biology until they try it. We are destroying their options to explore and be the best they can be.
    They don’t want to work, because it might be too much for them to handle and they can’t drop a class. This is a tremendous financial burden on us and isn’t healthly for their work ethics either.
    My kids didn’t drop lightly. One of my sons has ADHD. Its hard enough for him without this rule. The other son has big dreams for a lot of things he wants to try and just can’t seem to get.

    Comment by john — November 23, 2007 @ 11:31 pm

  6. I agree that if I am paying for the classes, what right do they have to limit my sons options? Let him try and fail. How many college professors have tenure? Its the biggest talk in the country how colleges and college students are stuck with these loser teachers. Now they are really stuck. Either a D or a drop. What if you wanted to try to be a doctor? You might not have the potential. You might fail and have to drop! Kids don’t want to fail, so they aren’t trying. I have 2 college freshmen. I know.
    Are you forcing us all to go to private colleges? Is this some political game?

    Comment by Sharon Lesly — November 23, 2007 @ 11:36 pm

  7. Registration for Spring 2008 semester started Nov 22nd, 2007. In order to get all your classes, you have to register right away. But the grades for the Fall semester 2006 don’t come out until December 15th. So the kids don’t know if they passed last semester when they sign up for the next semester. Do these classes count as drops? Also, if the just aren’t UT material and flunk out as many freshman do and we would like to send them to a community college, is that 5 dropped classes for registering for Spring 2008 when we find out they flunked out Fall 2007???
    I consider it a major waste of money to send my 2 kids to school another semester that is too hard for them and that we know they will flunk out again for 5 more months at $15,000 each for 2 kids because they have already registered before the grades came out.
    Also, is anyone reading these comments? Any legislature representative or do they care?
    What is the opinion on kids with disabilities like ADD, ADHD, and dyslexia with this 6 drop rule?
    Thanks Sharon

    Comment by Sharon — November 25, 2007 @ 7:06 pm

  8. How much does the state pay in welfare? Lets cut back on paying for college and pay more on welfare. That sounds like a great idea for me. I’m 18. I don’t think the 8% interest rate I am paying now is any great giveaway.
    This sounds like its really going to hurt the minorities. They have the less education where I come from and tend to have to retake classes the most. Also, if we stopped giving grants to illegal aliens in Texas, we might help out the tax paying citizens. Should illegal aliens get welfare or should we leave that to our tax paying kids?
    Maybe we need to look at how we expect our kids to realisticly pay $80,000 loans at 8% interest rates and survive the rest of their lives with homes and kids. Could you take on that kind of loan today?
    Student at UTSA,

    Comment by Jeff — November 25, 2007 @ 7:14 pm

  9. If this law had been in place my first year of college, I would have been screwed.

    To me, it seems obvious what this law will lead to: affected students moving to other states, staying out of school for a year (which is what would happen to them if they failed their classes in Texas, anyway), and going back to school in those respective states.

    At least, that’s what I would do in the situation – it seems easy enough, and a lot easier and cheaper than the alternative.

    After all the recent tuition rate increases, maybe it’s time Texas schools lost some money.

    Comment by Mike — February 29, 2008 @ 8:03 am

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    Comment by Marcy — August 17, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

  11. I am a returning college student that due to my youth did not take college seriously my first two semesters. Now five years into the working world I am motivated to return to school and am making all A’s but I am really just a freshman and only have 1 drop left according to this rule. If I experiment with I class I can’t handle and have to drop I am screwed. What happens after #6 I turn into a pumpkin? With my grades Being all A’s now but 3 years to go min does that mean I am who they are trying to weed out with this rule?

    Comment by Frank — April 16, 2014 @ 2:03 am

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