Since 2002, the UW Board of Regents has had an Excess Credit Policy for undergraduate students who have earned more than 165 credits from a UW institution. The Board of Regents rescinded this policy in April 2021 with the provision that UW–Madison could establish a similar policy.
While not widely applied, an excess credit policy communicates to students the need to graduate in a timely manner. Earning credits that go well beyond the minimum credits required for a bachelor’s degree does not add value to the degree. Students who remain enrolled beyond the time needed to graduate are taking the place of another student who could be working on their degree. The excess credit policy allows students to continue to be enrolled beyond the point of excess credit accumulation but sets a limit on how long they can benefit from the tuition subsidy provided to Wisconsin residents.
Wisconsin resident, undergraduate degree-seeking students who have completed more than 165 credits will be assessed a 100 percent tuition surcharge on any credits over 165. Undergraduate programs are required to have at least and no more than 120 credits; any higher credit requirement must be approved by the Board of Regents at the time of program approval.
The criteria for counting such credits is completed, graded credits per semester. Transfer credits from other UW institutions and from Wisconsin Technical College System institutions will be counted.
Credits that will not be counted toward the 165-credit surcharge include:
Second-degree students who have already been awarded a bachelor’s degree from a UW institution or Wisconsin Technical College are exempt from the tuition surcharge.
This policy under the authority of the Board of Regents already exists on campus. Approval of this policy affirms this as a campus policy and allows for the implementation to continue uninterrupted.