Campus raises unit cap to 18 for open registration

Registration is quickly approaching, and something new is being introduced to the registration process thanks to the recommendations of the Graduation Initiative Group at Sonoma State University. Beginning in July during open registration, all students will be able to register for up to 18 units, compared to the 16-unit cap students are currently limited by.

The Graduation Initiative Group is a group on campus that includes professors, Associated Students representatives, administrators and the president of the university. One of the members of this group is Richard Whitkus, co-chair of group, discussed the reasons behind this decision.

“During our discussion, we examined the unit loads taken by students in the fall 2015 and spring 2016 semesters,” said Whitkus. “The data revealed that around 250 additional students took either 17 or 18 units in each semester, with a significant drop off above 18 units.”

Whitkus then explained the importance of this sudden 18 unit cap raise.

“Given the workload associated with petitioning additional units, [our group] felt it would make sense to simply raise the cap to 18 units,” said Whitkus.

This year, Tim White, chancellor of the CSU system, revisited the importance of the four-year graduation rates California State University.

The current four-year graduation rate at Sonoma State is 28 percent, one of the highest in the CSU. Whitkus discussed what the group found at its last meeting about Sonoma State’s own graduation rates and what those rates say about the students on campus.

“Upon further discussion, the 16-unit cap that has been in place for the past several years is a good mechanism to even out available seats in courses across the different populations of students,” said Whitkus.

According to Whitkus, Sonoma State President Ruben Armiñana favorably received the information about increased unit cap.

“We hope this may actually increase, a bit, the number of students taking one extra class since the barrier of needing to petition the units will be removed,” said Whitkus.

In order to get this unit cap change into the system, Lisa Noto, the university registrar, has to manually change the unit cap herself before open registration begins in July.

“My role is to literally change the unit cap in the system from 16 to 18,” said Noto.   

Knowing this might calm a lot of students in regard to their choices for choosing classes for this upcoming semester. Now students can keep in mind that they do not have to worry about petitioning for more units anymore.

“I hope this move demonstrates how data driven decisions can be used to help our students make progress through their degrees,” said Whitkus.

Registration for fall 2016 begins on Friday and ends on April 27. The first day of registration is for graduate students, credential students, athletes, priority registered and presidential honor scholars.

Open registration begins in July and students can add more classes than to fulfill the 18 unit cap.