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WKU is adjusting is the academic calendar. One change is the spring semester of 2021 will begin January 19.

WKU’s upcoming winter term is receiving a substantial redesign that would narrow the gap between the fall and spring semesters.

A 2020-21 academic calendar approved by the academic calendar committee, the council of academic deans and WKU President Timothy Caboni’s cabinet states that the 2020-21 winter term would begin on Dec. 14, the Monday following finals week. A holiday break follows five days of class.

Students would resume their class schedule from Jan. 4 until Jan. 14, and final exams would take place on Jan. 15. Spring semester classes would begin on Jan. 19, so winter break would be reduced to a five-week period for students who are not enrolled in winter term classes.

Liz McClain, a sophomore from Murray, took two online courses during the recent winter term. She wanted to study during the winter term because she recently switched majors. In addition to catching up with required coursework, McClain hoped taking winter term courses would help raise her GPA.

“These courses required an extensive amount of work in only a short period of time,” McClain said. “The professors were very helpful in helping the students formulate a path to success.”

McClain said she supports the winter term changes listed in the new academic calendar.

“I honestly think that be a nicer way to do it rather than have a crammed course at the end,” McClain said. “I think the break is nice to have between finals and the winter term; however it would be just as accommodating to have it begin after finals with breaks for the holidays.”

Caboni said he believes a new academic calendar will create an easier back-to-school transition for first generation and low-income students.

“They’re here, they’ve learned things that they haven’t — you all learn things you would never been exposed to before,” Caboni said. “Some of them may begin to speak differently, and then all of a sudden they go back to the culture from which they came and how painful that can be.”

From 2018 to 2019, total enrollment in the winter term decreased by 2.6%, according to the 2019 WKU Winter Term Annual Report. This marked the second consecutive year that winter term enrollment declined.

The 2019 winter term report compared WKU’s tuition rates to five other universities in the state: Eastern Kentucky, University of Kentucky, Morehead State, Murray State and Northern Kentucky. Each school’s winter begins and ends earlier than WKU’s.

During the 2018-19 winter term, WKU’s online tuition rate for undergraduate students was $530 per credit hour, according to the 2019 report. Murray State ($378.50), EKU ($405) and NKU ($437) had cheaper undergraduate online tuition rates in 2018-19, according to the report.

As for students living on campus during the winter term, the tuition rate for WKU undergraduate students was $442 per credit hour, according to the report. UK ($490 for Lower Division students and $503 for Upper Division students) was the only university listed in the report that had higher tuition rates for undergraduate residents.

News reporter Leo Bertucci can be reached at leo.bertucci665@topper.wku.edu. Follow him on Twitter @leober2chee.

Leo Bertucci is a crime and general assignment reporter for the College Heights Herald. He is a junior from Louisville, Kentucky.