Block tuition would unfairly target strapped students

There is often a reason for change, but there doesn’t seem to be a cause or reason for charging students for more school credits than they take.

In November, the Florida Board of Governors will vote on whether to approve a proposal that would allow the University of Florida and 10 other public Florida universities, including USF, to implement block tuition.

Block tuition requires that each student pay a flat-rate fee for attending a university, rather than paying for classes by credit hour. The proposed flat rate would be the equivalent of 15 credit hours, or five classes, and if passed, block tuition rates could be enforced as early as the fall 2011 semester.

Many students only take the 12 credit hours that are required to maintain a full-time status. These students are negatively targeted by the proposal.

If block tuition were implemented, university students who usually take 12 credit hours – about four classes per semester – would essentially get charged for an extra class.

Conversely, students who take 18 credit hours would receive a free class.

The purpose of the block tuition plan is to encourage students to take more than the minimum 12 credit hours, ensuring graduation in four years or less.

What’s being neglected, however, is the fact that most students who take 12 credit hours do so for a reason. Many students work so they can afford school and, therefore, do not have the time to take five classes per


A student may have to provide for a family, eliminating the luxury of spending precious time taking 15 credit hours each semester. There are also students who are pursuing difficult majors and wish to balance demanding classes by taking only 12 credit hours.

Furthermore, if block tuition was put into effect at USF, it could have drastic effects, as 30 percent of college students drop out after their first year and half never graduate, according to U.S. News and World Report.

If students feel pressured into taking more credit hours than they can handle, it could lead to more students failing or simply dropping out of school.

Forcing students to take 15 credit hours per semester would only add extra stress and burdens to those who simply cannot afford – financially or otherwise – to do so.

Regardless of what administrators may think, students who take the minimum amount of credit hours per semester usually have a valid reason.

If adopted, this change would punish students who have additional responsibilities beyond school and would serve as a step in the wrong direction.

Jessica Schoenfeld is a freshman majoring in sociology.