Out in Four

We've always heard how important it is to stay in school. Well, now some college students in Georgia are taking too long to get their degrees, and university leaders are working to get more students to graduate on time. It's an issue at colleges throughout our area.

Less than half of the students in Georgia's university system are able to make it to graduation within four years, and now higher education officials say that means students are taking too long to be handed that degree.

"We will always be studying things, always looking at better ways to help students and better develop faculty. These are not issues that are here one day, then solved and then are gone," says Louis Levy of VSU Academic Affairs.

Leaders from universities around Georgia are now working together trying to find the best ways to get a bachelors diploma into the hands of students in four years or less. Several ideas being discussed at Valdosta State University include expanding summer school offerings and even allowing high school students to get college credit.

"That would allow students to finish in an on-time fashion. We hope we can provide the tools for success."

University officials say they are always looking at ways to help reduce the time students spend in college. They say it not only benefits the university, but it's beneficial for the students as well.

"Many students find they can become successful, keep a good GPA, keep that HOPE Scholarship, keep their 3.0 and graduate in three years," says Levy, helping free up much needed classroom space for the university, while allowing the student to get a jump on that dream job.

Educators say improving on-time graduation rates can be done without added cost and just a little more planning.