As a college student, things come up. Sometimes a new job comes around, sometimes the decision to change a degree is made, or sometimes the teacher from hell drives a student batty. Thus, classes get dropped. It’s a simple concept, and one that most students indulge in. Texas students, however, can’t afford to be so flippant.
As stated in the Texas Senate Bill 1231:
Beginning with the fall 2007 academic term, an institution of higher education may not permit an undergraduate student a total of more than six dropped courses, including any course a transfer student has dropped at another institution of higher education, unless the student shows good cause for dropping more than that number.
In simple terms, this means that a student may only drop six classes in his or her entire college career. For instance, a student who may have begun at a community college and dropped three classes at that institution now may only drop three classes, if and when he transfers to a university. This applies only to students who did not begin college until fall 2007 or later. It also applies to students who may have began college before 2007 in another state, but then transferred to a Texas college after the Fall ’07 semester. Those who began attending a college or university in Texas prior to 2007 are exempt.
So Why Did This Law Even Come About?
Ultimately money. The state of Texas gives money to colleges and universities based on the number of credit hours students are registered for (this means private institutions are exempt). Technically speaking, when a student drops a course, the state loses money on the investment they have made in that student. To some, this is a good thing – and not just for fiscal purposes.
“I think the law is molding stupid students into something more responsible,” says Harris Martin, a student attending the University of North Texas. “I feel that if you have to drop more than six classes then you shouldn’t be in school. . .to make a mistake about scheduling a class that was too hard, too long, or too stressful because you scheduled yourself too many hours, then that is no one else’s fault but your own.”
To others, the law isn’t entirely bad; it just needs some revising. “I’ve never dropped a class but I do think six drops as a limit is a bit much,” says Lone Star College student Joe Faler. “I know they’re trying to weed out “professional students” – as they’re called – but the average student changes majors a few times before finally sticking with one. I do think they need to be sensitive to that fact and let people figure life out for themselves. If anything they need to increase that limit to twelve.”
Exemptions, Special Cases, and Consequences
The law recognizes that sometimes there are circumstances that force students to drop a class, even if they probably would not have. These instances are ones such as if a student were to become suddenly ill, or suffer a debilitating accident, or the student is called into active duty by the Armed Forces. In those cases, those classes do not apply to the limit.
If a student was to reach the maximum amount of drops and tried for a seventh, the consequence is that the school just plain won’t let the course be dropped. This could cause a drop in the student’s GPA, which sometimes results in the loss of a scholarship.
To sum it up: the law may seem daunting, even stressful and challenging, but it is all part of going to college and studying in Texas. Whether the six drop rule is a good thing remains to be seen, but in the words of one student, “The point of college is to find out what interests us and what we want to do for the rest of our lives. This law puts up a very impressive road block at a certain point for many students.”