Nine Semesters in Residence – FAQs

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Why would it matter if we if we take longer to graduate?
A traditional undergraduate experience is eight (8) semesters at 15 hours per semester. Given the rapidly rising cost of tuition, many public and private universities can cost $15,000 to $40,000 or more in tuition per year. Some students leave their undergraduate programs with well over $100,000 in debt.

Because the LDS Church uses tithing funds to significantly subsidize tuition for all students, the value of an education at Church universities is very high, but the cost is artificially and comparatively low. With these conditions, the demand is much greater than the supply because of so many who want to take advantage of this educational opportunity.

Hundreds of qualified students are denied admission each year because there is not room at BYU–Hawaii. So for every three students graduating in 12 semesters, they use up the surplus time for one student to get a nine-­semester education. Because tuition is subsidized so heavily (even for those who don’t receive university scholarships) and housing is a limiting factor each semester, we want to serve as many students as possible.

What are examples of tuition at other U.S. universities?
From the College Board, average tuition and fees for the 2011-­2012 school year:

-­‐ Avg. private, non-­profit 4-year college: $28,500
-­‐ Avg. public 4-year college: $8,244 in state; $12,526 out of state

How does this relate to graduating in three years?
The Nine Semesters in Residence policy was designed to give more flexibility than that of graduating in three (3) years, which has been the policy since 2009. Many of the requirements and incentives are identical to the Two Semesters, Two Terms policies in place since 2009 which provide incentives for people to attend year-round. With nine semesters, students are able to make choices that work best for them and their individual circumstances.

What if I already have an approved MAP?
Students graduating in 2012 – all can graduate without appeal. Just apply now for graduation.

Students graduating in 2013 – all with an approved MAP of 10 semesters or fewer can graduate without appeal.* Just be sure to stay on track. Mapped for more than 10 semesters? Please see your advisor to fill out an appeal. Are you a transfer student? Please see your advisor to check your status.

*Note: Students participating in the I-­WORK financial aid program receive their funding with an agreement to graduate in nine semesters. This has been a condition since the program’s inception and will continue.

Students graduating in 2014 or later – all with an approved MAP of nine semesters or fewer can graduate without appeal. Just be sure to stay on track. Mapped for more than nine semesters? Please see an advisor to fill out an appeal.

What if I want to change my major?
Changing majors is permitted, but you will still need to graduate in nine semesters. So, the later you change majors, fewer options are available.

What about housing?
On-campus housing is designed for full-­‐time students. The options to qualify are 36 credit hours (e.g. 15-­‐15-­‐6) in the prior year or 12-­‐12-­‐12 for each semester. However, continuing students in the dorms (not TVA) may qualify to stay Summer semester with a minimum of six (6) credits during one Summer session. There are currently 200+ students on the waiting list for TVA.

What about internships?
Because they do not claim campus resources, off-island internships don’t count as one of the nine semesters in residence. They do count for credits counted in that year. 

Students who have qualified for scholarships that choose to go on an internship will have the semester before their internship used to evaluate their future eligibility, not the internship semester.

I-WORK students are authorized to apply for an off-campus internship during their nine-semester sequence. I-WORK students can be authorized for 9 semesters in residence and one on an internship in which they have no claim on campus resources (i.e. are not living on campus or taking any classes on campus, online courses not included).

The semester they are gone on an internship does not count toward one of the semesters they are in I-WORK. I-WORK will cover the cost of tuition for the experiential learning/internship semester. However, costs such as travel or lodging associated with the experience are the responsibility of the student. Students may apply with Career Services for funding assistance according to experiential learning funding guidelines. Since I-WORK does not cover living expenses during the internship, students are encouraged to find paid internships. 

Students gone during the Summer semester for school-sanctioned internships or other approved absences may sublease their TVA apartment to other eligible students, upon submitting the proper documentation to the appropriate departments.

What about scholarships?
University scholarships are designed to encourage academic success and year-­‐round attendance. There is, however, some latitude. Qualified students can receive a scholarship based on 40 credit hours in the previous year OR by getting 14 or more credits in the semester immediately preceding the semester they would receive the scholarship.

What about financial aid?
U.S. federal financial aid is independent from the BYU–Hawaii policy on the allotment of semesters. (Remember that to receive federal financial aid more than 50 percent of your credits must be from on campus classes.)

How do the previous terms count toward nine semesters in residence?
Two terms will be counted as one semester.

What about online classes?
If you’re not taking classes on campus or claiming campus resources (living on campus or receiving university scholarships) then taking online courses doesn’t count as one of the nine semesters in residence.

What if I am a returning or a transfer student?
The number of semesters in residence you have are tied to usable transfer credits and/or the semesters you have already had in residence. Admissions will have given you information, but be sure to double check on this with your academic advisor.

What if I need to repeat a class?
While the registration system will block students from registering themselves for a repeated course, students can repeat classes, if needed. Please go see an advisor to register for a repeated course. They will help you adjust your MAP to fit this into your allotted semesters. There is a limit of 12 credits of repeated coursework. At times repeating may be the best choice, but there are consequences. Repeating more classes will use up a student’s allotment of semesters available, eventually possibly limiting the options available for graduation.

For more information, visit or see your Academic Advisor. To share any additional questions/concerns, please visit