Lode Editorial: The actual amount behind PE credits

Maddie Steger, Editor in Chief

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The cost of attendance has long been a topic of interest on any college campus. According to The College Board, the average amount a student paid at a private university was $34,740 for tuition and other various fees.

While Michigan Tech’s estimated cost of attendance is lower than that for an in-state student, it still runs them $15,646, and that amount jumps to $33,726 for an out of state student.

These numbers are based on a student taking between 12 and 18 credits per semester, however if you take less or more than that you will be charged per credit – $579 for in state and $1,238 for out of state.

Since 2010, the percent of colleges and universities that enforced a physical education credit requirement dropped to 39 percent. Back in 1920, it was as high as 97 percent. Possible reasons for the drop could include smaller budgets or a refocus to academics.

However, this doesn’t mean that colleges and universities have abandoned physical education altogether, they have only made it so students don’t need a specific amount of physical education credit requirements to graduate. All universities and colleges offer physical education courses that students can take, and many allow physical education credits to be used as electives.

Michigan Tech is still one of the universities in the U.S. that have physical education credit requirements. Currently, undergraduate students at Michigan Tech are required to take at least three physical education credit requirements.

While the actual cost of taking three physical education credit requirements is roughly $1,737 plus a little more to account for the lab fees that come with many of the courses for in state students, the amount increases to $3,714 for out of state students. This is basing the cost per credit to be for a student who has taken less than 60 credits.

Even though the numerical cost of physical education credit requirements is relatively low, one must also consider other factors such as time. Many students that attend Michigan Tech need to have roughly 16 credits per semester dedicated to their major in order to graduate in four years, leaving only two credits left for other required courses.

Incoming students at Michigan Tech usually have to take general courses their first and second semesters, which allow them to have freedom with their schedules. However, because of registration priority, first year, and even second year, students find it near impossible to get into a physical education course.

Students that wish to pursue a minor while at Michigan Tech also find it stressful and difficult to fit in all the courses that they need to graduate along with their major and minor requirements. Additionally, most students tack on a minor after their first year, which means they probably have not planned out how they will fit everything they need to in four years.

There are also plenty of students who’s graduation date is pushed back because they study abroad, have a medical emergency, or need to take a semester off for financial reasons.

Student advisors in every department already have their hands full, especially Maria Bergstrom in the Humanities Department who is the advisor for every humanities major and minor on campus. Having to take a couple of physical education credit requirements that never seem to fit into any schedule may be easy for some students, but for the majority it can be seen as another stressful thing college throws our way.

Numerous studies have shown us that exercise is important in our everyday lives, however, when universities and colleges are deciding what should and shouldn’t be made required, students and their situations should be considered. It’s not that taking physical education credit requirements is hard, it’s that the time each individual student has to put into the class and fitting it into their already busy schedule is hard.

As for Michigan Tech students, for now we can just be thankful we’re not at Wellesley College in Massachusetts where they require eight credits of physical education.

*Note: This article ran April 11