Credit Hour Definition
The federal definition of a credit hour is:
"(1) One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
“(2) At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.”
Having a federal definition of “credit hour” puts the federal government squarely in the middle of an academic decision-making process and limits the ability of institutions to respond to new models of higher education. No amount of clarification by the Department can surmount the inherent problem of imposing the rigidity of federal regulation on a dynamic process—a process that has allowed our system of higher education to grow, improve, and respond to changing circumstances.