Graduate in Four Years, or Your Fifth Year is Free

Tim Goral's picture
Thursday, May 31, 2012

Reflecting back, I still remember the days leading up to my first day at the University of Arizona. I was excited for the fresh start post-high school and embarking on another four-year journey. But the typical four years at college isn’t so typical anymore.

The average four-year graduation rate at public universities is 31 percent (53 percent at private schools) according to Jeff Selingo, the editorial director for the Chronicle of Higher Education in an interview on NPR. So that means in a class of 30 thousand students, roughly 9,300 will graduate in four years. So the other 69 percent of students might be facing a bigger pile of debt by taking those extra years to finish school.

At Indiana State University, there’s going to be a new program to help students graduate by offering to cover the costs of their tuition if they need to take a fifth year. The deal sounds too good to be true; and in a way, it can be considered as such.

The catch for receiving this incentive is incoming freshmen for fall 2012 have to sign a pledge that they promise to basically do what they’re supposed to do in college in the first place: take 30-32 units a year, talk to their advisor to ensure they’re staying on track, and other stuff that 31 percent probably did out of common sense.

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