FAQ: 125% Rule for In-State Tuition

Q:  Are there any limitations placed on in-state tuition?  If so, what are they?
A:  To maintain in-state tuition rates, students must graduate by the time they have attempted 125% of the minimum credit hours required for their declared (specified) degree programs (This includes any Major, Double Majors, Options, Minors, and Additional Degrees).


Q:  What happens if I do not graduate by the time my “credit-hours-attempted” exceeds 125% of the minimum credit hours required for my declared degree program?
A:  Students who do not graduate by the time they have attempted 125% of the minimum credit hours required for their specified degree programs will incur a tuition surcharge.


Q:  What is a Tuition Surcharge?
A:  The tuition surcharge is the additional tuition that students must pay for continued enrollment after their attempted credit hours equal or exceed 125% of the minimum credit hours required for their declared degree programs.


Q:  Concerning in-state tuition rates, what may be counted as comprising the minimum hours required for my declared degree program?
A:  Your specified degree program consists of your primary degree, additional degrees (not double majors), and any minors. In order for these to be counted towards your DECLARED degree program, you must have applied for all degrees and minors that you are pursuing.


Q:  What is meant by DECLARED degree program?
A:  Your declared (specified) degree program consists only of those degrees, majors, and minors that you have applied for on the Application-for-Degree form on Hokie Spa.


Q:  What is meant by the term “Credit Hour Threshold”?
A:  The credit hour threshold is 125% of the minimum number of credit hours required to complete your declared degree program. Any attempted hours beyond this threshold trigger the tuition surcharge.


Q:  Is there anything on my declared degree program which does not increase my 125% threshold?
A:  Yes, double majors and major concentrations (options) do not increase the credit hour threshold.


Q:  I am told that I must take a class each semester to remain a member of the Regimental Band.  Can these classes be used to increase my credit hour threshold?
A:  No.  Only those courses specified by your declared degree program can be used to determine your credit hour threshold.


Q:  As a member of the VT Corps of Cadets, I am told that I must take certain classes to remain a member of the Corps.  Can these classes be used to increase my credit hour threshold?
A:  No:  Only the courses required of your specified degree program may be used to increase your credit hour threshold.


Q:  Does declaring an additional degree increase the credit hour threshold?
A:  Yes, a declared additional or dual degree will add a minimum of 30 credit hours to the total required to complete the degree. Each declared minor will also increase the total degree hours by the minimum required hours to complete the minor.


Q:  Can I change my declared (specified) degree program?
  Yes, you can change your specified degree program at any time however please be aware changing majors may necessitate additional coursework which could cause you to exceed the credit hour threshold and incur the tuition surcharge. You should work with your course advisor to carefully plan your degree program so that you are able to accomplish your academic goals and avoid the tuition surcharge.


Q:  At what point in my academic career is the credit hour threshold determined?
A:  The credit hour threshold is determined based on your academic record at the time the first warning email is issued (Please see “warning email” question below). Adding additional majors or minors after this time will not alter the credit hour threshold calculations. After this point in time, changing your specified degree program will not affect your threshold in any way.


Q:  What happens if I cross the 125% credit hour threshold?
A:  Students who exceed the credit hour threshold must pay a tuition surcharge for each term of enrollment after crossing the threshold. This tuition surcharge is essentially double the normal in-state tuition rate.


Q:  What credits are included in determining my standing relative to the 125% threshold?
A.  All attempted Virginia Tech credit hours as well as transfer credit work from Virginia collegiate institutions are used in your standing relative to the credit hour threshold.


Q:  Is there anything that does not count against my credit hour threshold?
A:  Yes, the State Guidelines allow for the subtraction of credits awarded for high school dual enrollment, Advanced Placement, Advanced Standing, International Baccalaureate, and Credit by Exam from the attempted totals. Transfer credits from non-Virginia public colleges and universities may also be excluded from the credit hours attempted totals.


Q:  Can I drop transfer credit to avoid this surcharge?
A:  No. While students do have the option at Virginia Tech to disallow transfer credit, all Virginia public institution transfer credit, with the exception of high school dual enrollment, must be used in the 125% credit hour threshold calculations. Any credits disallowed by a student will continue to be used in the calculations.


Q:  Is there anything I can do to avoid violating this regulation?
A:  Absolutely! It is very important that you consult with your academic advisor and review the resources available.

Planning for the completion of your degree requirements prior to reaching the credit hour threshold is critical in avoiding the tuition surcharge. In many, if not all cases, proper planning and compliance with university guidelines will prevent the application of the tuition surcharge. It is therefore imperative that you work with your academic advisor to clearly define your academic program and to declare all the degrees and minors you are pursuing.


Q:  Can I appeal to have the Surcharge waived once it has been applied to my account?
A:  While the Code of Virginia allows for a tuition surcharge waiver process, the standards set forth in the State Guidelines are both limited and rigorous. For more information on tuition surcharge waiver criteria, please refer to the SCHEV regulations.


Q:  What is a warning email?
A:  Students having in-state tuition are sent an email when they have attempted approximately 100% of the minimum hours required for their specified degree programs.


Q:  Are there any emails that I may receive about this regulation?
A:  Yes, you may receive an advisory email that you have attempted between 25% and 85% of your degree requirements, more than once. Additionally, you may receive two other emails concerning the 125% In-State Tuition Surcharge. See Below.

  • The first is a warning email (see above). The purpose of this email is to inform you that you have attempted 100% of the required hours for your degree. At the time you receive this email you will not have triggered the tuition surcharge but you are getting close. You may receive more than one warning email.
  • The second email, which is sent only to those students who have crossed the 125% threshold, notifies them that they will be assessed the tuition surcharge. Through careful planning and diligent study you should avoid receiving this email.



The above concerns certain limitations on In-State Tuition, sometimes referred to as the 125% Rule for In-state Tuition. Please be aware that certain financial aid programs use similar or identical terminology. This notification does not deal with Reasonable Academic Progress (RAP) or Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) or any other financial aid regulations. To determine if financial aid will be affected by the application of the 125% In-State Tuition Surcharge, please contact the Office of University Scholarships and Financial Aid.