Protocol for Institutions Proposing to Offer Baccalaureate Degrees of Fewer than 120 credits

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NECHE Guidance for Proposals for Baccalaureate Degrees Fewer than 120 credits

As you may be aware, over the past 18 months, the Commission has reviewed requests from two institutions to offer a limited number of baccalaureate degrees with fewer than 120 credits. Currently, numbered paragraph 4.33 of the standard on The Academic Program states that baccalaureate degrees need to include at least 120 credits. The requests that were received asked the Commission to approve the programs under the Policy on Innovation. While the Commission declined to grant approval in these instances, it has devoted many hours to discussing if there was a protocol that could be offer to institutions which would guide future Commission decisions regarding proposals of baccalaureate degrees of fewer than 120 credits. Understanding that the attached protocol is not a guarantee that the Commission will approve any specific request, it is offered to our members for the purpose of providing guidance in the development of future proposals. We also want to share that this protocol is intended to serve as a bridge to the review of the Standards which will begin this summer and be completed in 2026. It is the Commission’s expectation that the current 120-credit requirement embedded in our Standards today will be the subject of serious review during the next two years.