The uncertain fate of J-term

J-term classes as a whole are under review as administration considers these classes’ benefit to the university.

Chloe Kucera, News Reporter

Every year, Hamline has a break between fall and spring semesters during the month of January. This period of time is called January Term or better known as J-term. During J-term, the university holds a variety of optional classes. J-term is also a time that students can study away to further their education and immerse themselves in different cultures and environments. 

J-term classes may not continue in the future. In a staff meeting on Sept. 13, Interim Provost Andy Runquist made comments about the possibility of J-term classes coming to an end. The reasons given were due to low enrollment in the classes and cost to the university. 

Although there have been comments made about J-term classes, Rundquist said their fate has not yet been determined.

“There has not been a decision made to discontinue J-term classes. We are looking at many issues around our academic calendar but [no] decisions are imminent,” Rundquist wrote in an email.

J-term classes historically have been beneficial for students in order to complete their education at Hamline.

“J-term provides students with such a unique opportunity to catch up,” junior Maddie Swanson. “People can get more Hamline Plan credits.”

J-term courses have become a solution for seniors who are still in need of courses. 

“I know [J-term classes] can be a really good option for students…especially when classes are wrapping up or during their senior year and they still have Hamline Plan letters to complete,” sophomore Anna Diebert said. 

Some students end up having to take J-term classes due to class availability.

“It’s been limiting to select classes [during the semester] because so many people want the [same] class and if they don’t get in this time, they rely on J-term,” junior Fednise Stark said.

Students have concerns about what might happen if there are no more J-term classes. 

“I think losing that option might make it more difficult for students to complete their Hamline Plan letters and graduate on time.” Diebert said.

Students also wonder what impact this could have on student retention. 

“It could have some impacts on retention rates as well as graduation rates,” Swanson said. 

In the past, J-term classes were included in tuition but within the past few years, Hamline made the decision to charge for the classes separately. This has caused a drop in enrollment of J-term classes. 

Some students would like to take classes during J-term, but the price tag is off putting.

“I’ve been wanting to take a J-term class…but it’s just so much money.” Stark said, “It’s not included in tuition and you don’t get financial aid.”

If J-term classes are discontinued, students hope that Hamline will make changes and give them other options in order to fulfill graduation requirements.

“If they’re not having J-term classes, they should have those classes accessible for the spring semester or for the fall,” Stark said, “They should let people go over the 18 credit limit so they can actually take the classes that they need without feeling like they’re constrained and having to pay…more for a credit.”