Senate Bill 497, passed by 83rd Legislature, Regular Session, requires that students enrolled at a public institution of higher education not be required to complete more than the minimum number of Semester Credit Hours (SCH) than are required by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC), which is 60, to earn an associate degree. Allowances for exceeding the 60 SCH limit can be granted when a compelling academic reason exists. Acceptable justifications for exceeding the 60 SCH limit are programmatic accreditation requirements, statutory requirements, requirements for licensure/certification of graduates, and other possible exceptions.
Coordinating Board staff, working in conjunction with the WECM Leadership Committee and faculty and administrative representatives from community and technical colleges across the state, have approved exemptions to exceed the 60 SCH limit for the program disciplines listed below:
Approved 60 SCH Exemption
American Sign Language
Cancer Data Management
Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Physical Therapist Assistant
The exemptions apply to all programs statewide in the disciplines listed. If a college had previously completed the process to reduce a listed program to 60 SCH, it may revise its program to the approved SCH exemption listed above. However, a college is not required to adopt the approved exemption. Approved exemptions may be superseded at a future date by the development of Programs of Study curricula. For additional information click here.