Western Technical College is Implementing a Three-Term Trimester System Beginning Fall 2013

Western Technical College is Implementing a Three-Term Trimester System Beginning Fall 2013

You may have already heard that Western is moving from a two-term semester system to a three-term trimester system starting fall 2013. The transition to a trimester system is part of Western's Vision 2020 plan of putting new best practices in place to help students achieve success. Research indicates that a trimester system can increase student retention and graduation rates, possibly lower the cost of education, and, in some cases, allow students to graduate sooner.

While Western is moving to trimesters, that doesn't mean that all programs will be offered in a trimester format. Here is a list of programs that will be offered in a trimester format starting this fall or are currently being offered year-round.

  • Architectural Technology
  • Automotive Technician
  • Criminal Justice
  • IT-Network Systems Administration
  • IT-Web and Software Developer
  • Nursing Assistant
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Supervisory Management
  • Wood Tech

If you are currently a student in a program that will be moving to a trimester format, please talk with your instructor about how this change will affect you, or contact your division office. If you are an undeclared student, are currently in a program that is not moving to the trimester format, or are a student receiving financial aid, you will also be affected by the trimester change. Because the College is moving to trimesters, the length of the terms, class times, and breaks will change for everyone. Each term (fall, spring, and summer) will be 15 weeks long, breaks between terms will be shorter, there will be no designated spring break, and graduation will take place the end of April rather than May. The academic calendar for 2012-14 is available online.

If you are receiving financial aid to attend college, there will be a number of changes in the awarding of financial aid beginning fall 2013.

  • Due to the limited days between terms in the trimester system, financial aid refunds will be disbursed later in the term, during the 4th week of the trimester.
  • Eligible students will be able to charge to their accounts through the Campus Shop required books and required supplies approximately two weeks prior to the start of the term through the second week of the term. This option will be available to eligible students each term and we will provide specific start and end dates in the future. To be eligible to charge required books/supplies to your account, students must already be awarded financial aid through Western's financial aid office AND have a refund pending AFTER college costs are deducted. Students will be allowed to charge only up to the amount of the pending refund. Students must authorize the College to take these charges out of their financial aid by answering "yes" to the question included on the online application. If students do not answer "yes" or leave the question blank, they will NOT be allowed to charge books and supplies.
  • If you are a full-time (12 or more credits) student, taking classes for all terms, and are grant eligible, your grant money will be awarded for the Fall/Spring Terms.
  • If you are a student with Pell Grant eligibility and are enrolled for LESS THAN 12 credits, our financial aid system will automatically put any unused Pell Grant into the Summer Term of enrollment.
  • If you are a student taking at least six credits and are eligible for, and receiving, a Direct Stafford Loan, your loan money will be distributed over three terms. If you determine that you will NOT be attending Summer Term 2014, contact financial aid for a recalculation of loan eligibility for the Fall and Spring Terms.

If you have questions about financial aid please contact the financial aid office at 608.785.9579.

We understand that this is a big change in how students attend Western, but we firmly believe that this change is in the best interest of student success. If you have questions after reading this information and reviewing the academic calendar, please feel free to contact your advisor or instructors, your program's division office, or the Welcome Center at 608.785.9200 or 800.322.9982. Our goal is to make this transition as easy as we can for all of our students.