Image courtesy of Elizabethtown Community and Technical College on Facebook. 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Elizabethtown Community and Technical College is switching from a 16-week class schedule to an eight-week class schedule -- a move it says will improve student grades and graduation rates.

According to a news release, the change will start in Fall 2021. It is being branded as the "8-Week Advantage," and it will reorganize the academic calendar into five eight-week sessions. Semesters in the fall and spring will have two eight-week sessions, and one eight-week session will be offered in the summer.

"8-Week Advantage is about student success," said ECTC Interim Chief Academic Officer Darrin Powell. "Those gains are largely a result of students being able to focus on fewer classes at a time."

As an example, a full-time student in a traditional 16-week semester might take five three-credit-hour courses, earning a total of 15 credits. 

"With 8-Week Advantage, that student will take two or three classes per eight-week session," the news release states. "The student will focus on fewer classes at a time and earn the same 15 credit hours. Over the course of the semester, the average time devoted to their classes will not change."

The college says there is research showing that students and professors form stronger bonds when they spend more time together in a short timeframe. Additionally, students can choose to start college in August, October, January, March or June under the eight-week system, depending on the courses they want to take.

"This is a unique, meaningful change that helps ensure all our students succeed," said ECTC President Dr. Justin Pate. "From new high school grads to working adults who are goingto college and raising families, students have an opportunity to concentrate on fewer subjects at a time and get closer to their goals every eight weeks."

The school says about 95 percent of classes will switch to eight-week semesters, with the exception of classes with clinical or internship requirements that can't be completed in eight weeks.

According to the news release, the transition will not affect the amount of financial aid students receive.

Fall 2021 enrollment begins in March.

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