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University system projects end of J-Term in 2025-26

Graphic by Kolton Maturey

J-Term courses will no longer be offered in the University of Nebraska system starting in the 2025-26 academic year. The calendar change will create a shorter winter break and end spring classes earlier.

University officials said campuses will essentially be returning to the pre-pandemic academic calendars.

“It was kind of a COVID era experiment, where we knew that COVID was obviously having a significant impact on our students,” said Melissa Lee, chief communications officer for the University system. “COVID created disruption across the entire University of Nebraska in every way possible, including on our students. We wanted to make sure that we were giving students every opportunity to make progress for their degree.”

J-Term began in the spring of 2021 to help offer more opportunities for students to graduate on track due to COVID-19 disruptions. 

That spring, 144 courses were offered at UNK, UNO and UNL over J-Term. 7,597 student credit hours were earned. In the spring of 2022, 146 courses were offered, with 5,737 student credit hours earned. Lee said system-wide figures are unavailable for 2023 and 2024, but the decline in student credit hours was a factor in the decision.

With the projected calendar for the 2025-26 academic year, spring classes will start and end one week earlier than in previous years with an intersession. In the spring of 2025, classes will begin on Jan. 21, and in the spring of 2026, classes will begin on Jan. 12.

Spring break will occur during its typical timeframe.

The intersession’s length was also considered when removing it from the academic calendar. 

“One of the reasons that we are doing away with the J-Term is that in some cases we’ve heard from faculty that it’s so short that it doesn’t give them the opportunity to offer meaningful academic experience,” Lee said.

The calendar committee looked at the option of pushing back the start of the spring semester to create a longer J-Term. This option would not have allowed students to start summer jobs, internships and activities as early.

One student said she saw the benefits J-Term offered for students wanting to graduate early or needing to retake a class.

“I don’t think it’s a great decision just because it was a helpful thing for a lot of students,” said Stephany Hernandez, freshman business administration major. “And now it’s going to be taken away and they’re not going to have that opportunity anymore.”

Lee said all options are on the table going forward, and the change doesn’t mean that the University system will never have a J-Term again. 

Todd Gottula, senior director of communications and marketing at UNK, said the University will “continue to look for ways to support and provide all the academic opportunities for students going back to this traditional academic year.”

“There are still a lot of ways that we can respond to their interests in all the areas that were represented during the winter term,” Gottula said.

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Jenna Heinz
Jenna Heinz, Reporter
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