Apparently Utah legislators are considering changing students extra if they earn a lot of college credits. This policy would be quite bad. According to an article by Brian Maffly in the Salt Lake Tribune:

Utah lawmakers are entertaining the notion of requiring… other students [who have earned more credits than they need to graduate] …to pay… more than triple Utah’s subsidized resident tuition. If colleges and universities charged full tuition for students who hold 120 percent of the credits needed for graduation, they could raise $45 million a year, according to legislative fiscal analyst Spencer Pratt. That sum would cover the 7 percent cut the Legislature wants to exact on higher education’s $700 million state appropriation.

Yea, those freeloaders, hanging out at public universities, taking all those subsidized extra credits they don’t need. Why don’t they just take the credits they need to graduate and then get out?

Well the trouble is that most students who have extra credits don’t do so because they stick around the university taking unnecessary classes; it happens because they earned Advanced Placement credits in high school. And then students get to college and find, due to distribution requirements, that they were redundant or didn’t count toward their majors.

By the logic the legislature is following (state universities should only cover the exact amount of credits students need toward the accumulation of a bachelor’s degree; all other credits shall be ruthlessly monetized) the state should also be paying students money if they come into college armed with AP credits.

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer