‘Interims to be paid for separately going forward’

Cory Sparks, Editor in Chief

April Lee / Advance-Titan

UW Oshkosh will become the last UW System school to charge its students for interim courses when the 2021-22 winter interim sessions begin in just a few weeks.

Up until this school year, UWO was allowing students to take three-week interim courses in the winter and summer with no additional cost. This alternative allowed students to take more credits per year without paying more.

While this option was appealing to and utilized by many UWO students, the school was making no additional revenue off tuition during those three-week periods. Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs John Koker said that the absence of revenue during this time period was the main motive behind UWO’s decision to charge students for interim courses going forward.

“UW System schools have become more reliant on tuition revenue as compared to state subsidy,” Koker said. “It was becoming extremely difficult to offer the three-week term with no additional revenue.”

While UWO was the last UW school to charge for these courses, Koker said that he noticed most students utilized interims to spread out their course loads instead of trying to graduate quicker. This means that in the long term, a student getting a bachelor’s degree would still be on track to finish their 120-credit education in eight semesters.

“It is not clear that students saved money in the long term as our graduation rates and average credit per semester are similar to other comprehensives,” he said. “Our students may have been spreading things out more than using it to accelerate time to degree.”

Student enrollment in interim courses will reveal how much this financial change will truly impact their decision making if at all, and Koker said that those numbers will be looked at after this first year.

“This is the first year with this change,” he said. “We will monitor that as we look to see if students are taking more credits during the 14-week semester.”

Koker said he hopes that students still take advantage of the benefits that interim courses offer, seeing that it is an accelerated form of education, in order to pursue earlier graduation dates. Ultimately, this will save students money in the long run.

“I hope full-time students take full loads (average of 15 credits) during the 14-week term and use the interims to speed up time to graduation,” he said. “Yes, the tuition will be more, but there will be savings in room, board and other costs.”