Students Stretching Time Until Graduation...Schools Feeling the Pinch

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, Florida- August 16, 2012

Fewer than half of college freshman in Florida will graduate in four years. At some Florida universities the four year graduation rate is closer to one in 10. Schools that don’t improve their graduation rate face shrinking budgets in the coming years.

In less than two weeks Kailee Baker will begin her college career, and hopefully select a major.

“I want to try to figure out what I’m doing and like figure it out so I can get done in four years,” said Kailee.

Her sister Jaimee, an FSU Junior, is on track to get her degree on-time.

“The longer you take in school the longer you take to get a good job,” said Jaimee.

Their mother, Kim says graduating on time is essential, not just because the longer her daughters are in school, the higher the cost, but also to teach responsibility.

Kim: Not just financially, I think that if you give them a goal of four years, they need to be completed in four years and not slack off and think they are going to college longer than they should.
Reporter: Make a career out of it.
Kim: Exactly

Half of freshman at Florida State University graduate in four years. At UF, 60 percent graduate on time. They’re the exceptions. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, statewide, the average is around 35 percent.

At FAMU a sign will welcome new students but so will a troubling statistic, Just one out of every 10 incoming freshmen will graduate in four years.

FAMU has the lowest graduation rate of any public university in the state. Interim President Larry Robinson says his number one goal is to rid FAMU of that title.

“That’s my priority to work on the retention, progression and graduation rates of our students. That’s my number one priority,” said Robinson.

And if Robinson succeeds FAMU may be rewarded. Next year the University System’s Board of Governors will grant higher tuition increases to school’s that improve graduation rates.

Board of Governors Chancellor Frank Brogan released this statement about plans to tie tuition increases to graduation rates.

“When students are able to graduate on-time, they enter the work force sooner to start down the path toward a successful career. That is good for Florida’s students and good for Florida’s economy. The Board of Governors wants universities to focus on providing the classes, advisors, and other support services that will enable students to earn a high-quality degree as soon as possible.”

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