Montana Board of Regents Policy 301.5.2 governing outdated coursework provides guarantees and guidelines not only for transfer students who are new to the Montana University System, but also to students who were part of the System when the policy was adopted on March 18, 2005.
Many students do not complete their degree in two years or four years, but, in fact, take periodic breaks from their college studies. Some of those breaks stretch into years, and when they finally return to school, the classes and grades that they bring with them can be several years, even several decades, old.
The problem, for both the student and the campus that is asked to accept those classes, is that the material in the course can be badly outdated and incomplete. Arguably, the majority of material in some classes will always be relevant, like an introductory course in American Literature or a Beginning Watercolor class. But given the explosion of information in recent decades, some classes quickly become obsolete.
This policy establishes guarantees to assure students that their previous coursework will at least be considered, and will not be automatically disqualified because of its age, within certain limits. College-level courses will be reviewed for possible use as follows:
|For courses to be used for||Courses must be completed within|
|major, minor, option or certificate||the last five (5) years|
|general education program||the last fifteen (15) years|
|free or elective credits||the last fifteen (15) years|
The guarantee only promises that courses falling into the relevant time periods will be analyzed and reviewed for possible use in a student's degree program. It does not guarantee that the courses will be automatically accepted. A watercolor class that is only three-years-old will almost certainly be accepted as an elective credit. It might satisfy a campus-specific general education requirement, depending on the general education program. But it will have no use in a student's course requirements for an engineering degree.
Under the terms of the Outdated Coursework policy, the campuses in the Montana University System have the right to accept classes that fall outside the guarantee periods. Campuses may decide that some classes older than the guarantee periods are still relevant and acceptable as elective credits, or that they satisfy the institution's general education program, or that the class still works as major, minor, option or certificate credits. These decisions are up to the campuses, however, and they fall within the discretionary powers of the campus. Because they are discretionary, if the campus decides not to accept classes because they are older than the guarantee periods, students cannot challenge the campus decision.