Completing 15 credit hours a semester can help you earn a degree in less time and at less cost.


The longer you stay in college, the more your expenses add up. For many students, more time in college can also mean more student loan debt.




  • Know how many credit hours you need for the degree you are seeking. The number of hours can vary depending on your major and the college or university you attend.


  • Complete 15 or more credit hours each semester to put you on track to earn an associate degree in two years or a bachelor's degree in four years. Make sure the courses you take will count toward your degree.


  • Consider all your options - online and summer classes can help you get the credit hours you need. Taking dual-credit and Advanced Placement (AP) classes in high school can give you a head start on earning college credit.


Time is money

Less than half of Missouri college students earn an average of 15 credit hours per semester. Although 12 credit hours a semester is considered full time for most financial aid programs, it is not enough to graduate on time. Students completing 12 hours a semester often need an extra year or more to finish their degree.


An additional year of college can cost more than $50,000 in tuition, fees, room and board, and the wages you would have earned if you had graduated on time and joined the workforce full time. 


Talk to your advisor about enrolling in 15 or more credit hours a semester to graduate on time.