Wheaton College has lengthened the duration of classes, extended fall break and adjusted the time for chapel in order to meet federal education requirements.
The changes will have no effect on Tuesday and Thursday courses, but the duration of Monday, Wednesday and Friday daytime classes will increase by five minutes. Chapel will now begin at 10:40 a.m. and end at 11:25 a.m. Once-a-week evening classes will meet for an extended 15 minutes, ending at 10:00 p.m. To accommodate intercollegiate athletes and students in music ensembles, Wheaton will delay science labs by 15 minutes.
Since the class time requirements for the fall semester demand an hour less than the spring semester, adjustments had to be made to the fall semester while implementing the extended schedule. Wheaton College correspondingly increased fall break by one day and scheduled a five-day break from Oct. 15-19. Originally, fall break spanned from Friday to Monday but will now last from Saturday to Wednesday.
After the 2012 reauthorization of the Higher Education Authorization Act, Wheaton College found itself falling short of the required class hours by 1.5 hours in the fall and 2.5 hours in the spring. The federal government enforces this requirement through the accreditation process, giving Wheaton College until its next accreditation cycle in 2014-2015 to affirm its new calendar.
In 2013, Wheaton created a task force to alter the schedule to accommodate the federal regulations. In order to ensure compliance with federal financial aid criteria, Wheaton was expected to meet a required number of hours for students to spend in class per week each semester. The faculty approved the new calendar in February of 2014, setting fall 2016 as the inaugural semester.
After the many modifications to class times, Registrar Peggy King confirmed that to the best of her knowledge, there will not be another schedule change in the near future. The last time Wheaton College changed its schedule was in August 1992 when it converted from a 16-week semester to the current 15-week semester.