ASU President Joseph C. Rallo said the proposed degree program aligns scholarships with the existing Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (B.I.S.) program to provide a four-year path to graduation under the $10,000 cap for up to 120 semester credit hours (SCH). Rallo announced the program in a campus news conference attended Wednesday (Oct. 3) by Gov. Perry, State Rep. Drew Darby of San Angelo and Chancellor Kent Hance of the Texas Tech University System.
“Under this program,” Rallo said, “any qualifying student could enter Angelo State as a freshman and in four years leave with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies for less than $10,000 in tuition and fees, starting in the fall of 2013.”
Gov. Perry, who visited the ASU campus for the announcement, said, “I’m proud of ASU for joining the growing list of universities that are thinking hard about how to educate more Texans at a reasonable cost. A $10,000 degree provides an opportunity for students to earn a low-cost, high-quality degree that will get them where they want to go in their careers and their lives.”
The ASU program is the first at a Texas institution of higher education to allow qualifying students to complete a full, four-year degree of 120 SCH across disciplines for $10,000 on a single campus without having to transfer hours from another institution or a community college.
“By completing all their courses on the Angelo State campus,” Rallo said, “qualifying students will be able to enjoy the full academic and co-curricular advantages of a residential campus as they earn their degrees.”
The program will be open to Texas residents who present an ACT score of 27 or greater or a combined SAT critical reading and math score of 1220 or better. Students will be required to maintain a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or better. The program will also be open to transfer students bringing to ASU a 3.5 or better GPA on all previous academic work.
Because of the flexibility of the B.I.S. and its course of study, Rallo noted that the new program will be especially appealing to adult learners who want to return to college to complete a degree. Rallo said stipulations vary among universities statewide offering a $10,000 bachelor’s degree, with some limited to certain degree programs and/or requiring students to enter with as many as 30 SCH.
ASU’s interdisciplinary studies degree program provides students an opportunity to apply coursework in multiple fields toward an undergraduate degree. The B.I.S. is particularly well suited for students whose career goals call for training in more than one discipline or who want a breadth of knowledge in several fields rather than a single area.
“The advantages of our program with the academic requirement,” Rallo said, “are that students can spend their four years entirely at Angelo State and can complete a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies in 120 semester credit hours. Too, under our academic criteria, the students will be academically equipped to meet the challenge, whether they are new students or returning students.”
Applicants with a 27 ACT or 1220 SAT score would qualify for a $5,000 annually renewable scholarship administered by ASU. With that scholarship, a participant could complete 120 SCH at ASU for $9,974, which would cover all tuition and fees at current rates. Each qualifying student would need to take 15 semester credit hours each long semester.
Rallo said the university stipulated the academic requirement with the ACT/SAT score to help ensure participants could succeed and actually graduate in four years as 30 semester credit hours is a significant annual academic load, especially for first-generation students, who make up a significant portion of ASU’s student population.
Gov. Perry first challenged universities to devise ways to offer an undergraduate degree for $10,000 during his state of the state address last year.