Part-Time or Full-Time: What's Best for You?

By Kate Miller, November 15, 2021

Ever wondered what it means to be Part-Time or Full-Time at Ithaca College?  Do you have loans, grants, work study, or scholarships that help you pay for college?  Are you a college athlete? Do you need to be full time for your health insurance? Do you get a discount on car insurance? What about when you want to have a lighter credit load one semester, what’s the minimum?  If you have these questions and more about enrollment status, you’ve come to the right article.

Part-Time Enrollment (Undergraduate 1-11 credits)

Undergraduate students enrolled in less than 12 credits enrolled in the Fall or Spring semesters are considered “Part-Time”.  Students may take less than 12 credits for a variety of reasons, but should always check with their faculty advisor and Student Financial Services prior to starting a part-time semester to ensure they understand the implications of being part-time.

Want to enroll part-time?  Be sure to complete the Part-Time Enrollment form on the Office of the Registrar website. If you do not complete the form, you will be billed full time.

Part-Time Enrollment (Graduate 1-8 credits, depending on Program)

Graduate students are considered part-time if they are enrolled in less than 9 credits or less than the expected number of credits based on program requirements.  It is rare for a Graduate student to be part-time and students should confirm with their departments prior to enrolling in a part-time semester.

Full-Time Enrollment (Undergraduate 12-18 credits)

Undergraduate students are considered Full-Time if they are enrolled in between 12 and 18 credits in a semester.  If students want to take more than 18 credits in a semester, they need to complete the Over 18 Enrollment Form on the Office of the Registrar website. Please note: there is an additional per credit charge for over 18 credits and your Dean approval is required.

Full-Time Enrollment (Graduate 9-12 credits, depending on Program)

Graduate students are considered Full-Time if they are enrolled in between 9 and 12 credits.  Some programs may have different full-time credit expectations.  Please consult with your department if you are unsure of how many credits you should take as a Graduate student.

What about the Winter semester?

Part-Time and Full-Time status do NOT apply to the Winter semester.  There are limits on how many credits you take in the Winter and Summer.  You can take a maximum of 4 credits in the Winter.

Want to learn more about the Winter semester, including enrollment and tuition?  Check out the Winter Session website.

Does the Summer semester have Part-Time and Full-Time?

Yes!  For Undergraduates, Full-time in the summer is defined at 12 credits overall.  You must take at least 6 credits in session 1 and 6 credits in session 2 to be considered full-time.  For Graduates, full-time status is 6 credits.

Want to learn more about the Summer semester, including status and tuition?  Check out the Summer at Ithaca College website.

What should I keep in mind?

Always keep in mind your graduation goal and program requirements when deciding if you’ll be part- or full-time.  When you’re deciding what is the best path for you, speak with Student Financial Services as soon as possible to ensure you know how being part-time could impact your financial aid.

When you are making your graduation plans, you should always consult with your faculty advisor to ensure your plans can become a reality.  This includes if you’re planning to be part-time, take summer or winter courses, or study abroad.