How to shorten your stay

Bottlenecks, small class loads, tuition problems and changes of major are all obstructions that can lead U students to delay graduation.

If a student can graduate in four academic years without running into one of these roadblocks, they either have great luck or know something the administration does not, said Paul Brinkman, associate vice president for budget and planning.

As part of a university task force studying enrollment lengths and graduation rates, obstructions and aids, Brinkman said it is difficult for most students to graduate in four years.

“An average U undergrad takes just 12 credit hours a semester,” he said. “Do the math; that will not get you graduated in four years.”

Brinkman said the task force’s job is to see what the university can do to decrease impediments and increase help to quicken graduation.

John Francis, co-chairman of the task force, said graduation patterns have always been a concern but lately have grown.

“We are asking if we need to change rules and regulations, increase course offerings and whether campus life aids graduation,” he said. “We are in a position to gather information and then make changes.”

Francis expects the task force to be able to make recommendations by the beginning of Fall Semester. It has been gathering information since the beginning of this academic year.

He said the task force-made up of roughly 15 members-has split up into subcommittees that will be reporting to the whole body within the next few weeks.

The task force will also look at the effect of financial aid opportunities, working students, transfer students, online courses and jobs on campus on graduation rates.

“With such a large student body, even a small shift in interests can cause a problem,” Brinkman said. “We have to detect the shift and then adapt to it in a timely manner.”

Francis said the biggest problems are the choices students make that affect when they graduate and the preparation students had before ever coming to college.

“If a student was not ready coming from high school, completing and graduating may be harder because of lack of experience,” he said.

Regardless of what recommendations are made, the task force wants to make them as soon as possible.

“College degrees have a considerable payoff,” Brinkman said. “The longer graduation is dragged out, the longer it will take our students to realize the benefit.”

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