13-credit policy

If you are a degree-seeking undergraduate student, you must pay a flat tuition rate based on 13 credits, no matter what your credit load. This means that any credits beyond 13 are available at no additional charge. Even when you take 12 or fewer credits, you will pay the 13-credit flat tuition rate.

Cost & time savings

The policy was adopted to encourage graduation in four years by averaging 15 credits per term, a choice that can save you both time and money. For example, you could save around $12,000 by graduating in four, rather than five, years.    Simply put, your education will cost you less as you are able to increase your credit load. For answers to frequently-asked questions about the policy, go to the 13-credit FAQ.


Students who are exempt from the policy are charged per credit for credits 1-12 and a flat tuition rate for 13 or more credits.

Automatic exemption

You are automatically exempt from the 13-credit policy if you:

have a disability for which the Disability Resource Center has determined that a reduced credit load is an appropriate accommodation.
work for the University and are enrolled on a Regents Scholarship.
are a non-degree student.
are a Wisconsin reciprocity student admitted prior to fall 2008

However, Wisconsin reciprocity students admitted prior to fall 2008 are charged for institutional fees according to the 13-credit policy. To pay the reduced rates for the general, college & program, and services/usage fees, you must submit a 13-credit Exemption Request to be approved for a reduced credit load to be eligible. See the Approved exemption information that follows.

Approved exemption

If your circumstances prevent registering for 13 or more credits, apply by the end of the fourth week of the semester for an approved exemption by completing the:

  • online13-Credit Exemption Request
  • or by printing the PDF version of the 13-Credit Exemption Request

Circumstantial examples:

Graduating senior: If you are a graduating senior, you may be exempt if you need fewer than 26 credits to complete the credits required to graduate.

Significant family or financial responsibilities: Adult students with family or child-care responsibilities often need to be part-time students. If approved, you may work on your degree at a pace suited to your life situation.

Internship, co-op program, or other unique educational or career opportunity: If you want to pursue a unique academic opportunity that precludes full-time status, you may petition for a temporary reduced credit load through your college.

Work responsibilities: Full-time employment (even 15-20 hours a week) will be considered as part of a whole picture of your life circumstances in reviewing your request for reduced credit load.

Medical condition: If you have a medical condition, illness, or incapacity, you may file a request for temporary or permanent exemption (with appropriate medical documentation) through your college, depending on the type of medical condition/illness. Complete a Medical Supplement Form if applicable.

International student status: If you are an international student with an F-1 and J-1 visa, be reminded that you are also subject to specific credit load requirements by U.S. immigration law. Read the information and complete the forms regarding exemption requirements for F-1 and J-1 visa holders, in addition to submitting a 13-Credit Exemption Request.

Wisconsin reciprocity status (students admitted prior to fall 2008): You will be charged for institutional fees according to the 13-credit policy unless you are approved for a reduced credit load to pay reduced rates for the general, college & program, and services/usage fees.registration.