Independent Study

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Term Definition
Independent Study

Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, independent or individualized study can be considered in determining whether a student is full time or part time for financial aid purposes. To be acceptable as part of the student’s minimum full or part-time course load, the student effort for the independent study must be the same, on an hour-for-hour equivalent basis, as that required for a credit-bearing course and if required or approved by the institution in a prefiled plan of study as an integral part of the student’s program.

To determine whether the student effort is the same as that required for a credit-bearing course, the institution’s faculty should establish a credit-equivalent value for the independent study based on the definition of a semester hour in section 50.1 (o) of Commissioner’s Regulations. Section 50.1(o) defines a semester hour as a unit of academic award that requires at least 15 fifty-minute hours of instruction and at least 30 hours of supplementary assignments. The institution should maintain documentation of the student’s work or other activity completed as a record of the student’s independent study effort.