Optimizing Your College Experience: Decoding the Variances Between Full-Time and Part-Time Student Status

May 22, 2023
Full-time Student sitting at desk at library completing homework

Being a full-time student or a part-time student can have a significant impact on your financial aid, academic load, and completion time of your program. Read on to see how we can help decode between Full-Time and Part-Time student status.

Financial Aid Impact

One of the main ways that a student’s academic status can affect their financial aid is through their eligibility for certain types of aid. For example, many types of financial aid, such as grants and scholarships, are only available to full-time students. Additionally, some loan programs have lower interest rates or more favorable repayment terms for full-time students. On the other hand, part-time students may have a more difficult time securing financial aid and may need to rely more on private loans or personal funds to pay for their education. The general rule is that full-time students are typically eligible to receive more financial aid than students enrolled part-time.

Each university determines what they believe is a full-time status or a part-time status. Check out the table below to see how Bethel University breaks down the differences between full-time status and part-time status:

Per SemesterPart-timeFull-time
UNDG6 Credits12 Credits
GRAD5 Credits9 Credits

Bethel’s Financial Aid Director, Sabrina Citté, had these points to highlight regarding financial aid.

  • Students must be registered at least part-time to be eligible for federal student loans.
  • Students are eligible for in-school deferment on federal student loans as long as they are registered at least part-time.
  • For Bethel’s Adult undergraduate programs, student enrollment is based on the full semester (both sessions combined). Part-time status is 6 credit hours total (3 credit hours per 7-week session). Full-time status is 12 credit hours total (6 credit hours per 7-week session).

Academic Load Impact

Another way that your academic status can impact your academic experience is through the load of coursework you are able to take on. Full-time students are typically expected to take a larger number of credits per semester, which can result in a heavier workload and potentially shorter completion time for their program. Part-time students, on the other hand, may have a lighter course load and may have more flexibility in terms of when they complete their program.

Completion Time of Your Program

However, it’s important to note that taking fewer credits per semester can also extend the time it takes to complete a program, as it will take longer to meet the required number of credits for graduation. The question to ask is what is your priority when going back to school. Do you want to complete it as quick as possible without any financial considerations or are you comfortable taking your time as you try to keep costs down? These are great questions to ask as you consider what commitment level you are making to you higher education endeavor!

Overall, academic status can have significant implications for financial aid, academic load, and completion time of your program. It’s important for students to carefully consider these factors when deciding whether to enroll full-time or part-time. We hoped this article helped shed some light between these higher education terms and give you more insight into making the best decision in your life.


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