The major universities in our area are falling behind the national average when it comes to graduating students in a timely manner. Educators say the report shows more needs to be done, and students say they agree.
On paper, it should only take four years to get a bachelor's degree, but a new report shows that it's taking much longer than that.
Nationwide, only 63 percent of college students graduate within the first six years. The picture is even worse when you look close to home. At Valdosta State, only 33 percent of students graduated in six years. Florida State almost matched the national average, while FAMU also fell short.
Marsha Krotseng, Valdosta State Chief Planning Officer, says, "Looking at students who graduated in 2004 though, we've seen a five percent overall increase at VSU in the overall numbers, so the new rate is a 48 percent graduation rate."
While many students at VSU say they don't see a real problem with taking a few extra years to get a degree, they say officials here on campus could turn around the trend easily if they put their mind to it.
Chris King, a fifth year senior, says, "Maybe some more orientation type stuff to let us know: 'you need to be on the ball now, you need to be on track now.' I know some of that's already in place, but you can't have too much encouragement."
And luckily for the younger students, more of those kinds of programs are on the way.
Krotseng adds, "We are also implementing new programs like our Freshmen Year Experience and our Emerging Leaders Programs."
It’s all with the goal of getting students into their graduation caps and gowns more quickly.
VSU officials say it's important to get students graduated as soon as possible to make way for more students to have an opportunity.