Magazine article University Business

A Gentle Nudge toward Graduation

Magazine article University Business

A Gentle Nudge toward Graduation

Article excerpt

ALTHOUGH IHEs ARE CATEGORIZED AS TWO YEAR AND FOUR YEAR, the reality is it often takes students longer than that to graduate. Efforts are continuously being made to help students obtain their degrees within six years of matriculation, the national standard. The Texas state legislature weighed ill on the matter in May by passing a law limiting to six the number of courses a student could drop after the census date during their entire higher ed career. Courses dropped before the census date or withdrawing from the institution entirely do not count toward the limit. Exceptions are also available for major life events such as a death in the family or military service. Rationales reported for the law include encouraging students to graduate on time and limiting the number of vacant seats in a class.

As with most one-size-fits-all laws, the ramifications will depend on the institution. An immediate pain point felt by all the public colleges and universities in Texas is the best way to track the information.

Michael Moore, senior vice provost for the University of Texas at Arlington, points out that dropped classes are easy to track internally. But as an urban institution many UT-Arlington students are simultaneously taking classes at area community colleges. Since the university doesn't require students to get permission before taking classes elsewhere, transcripts often aren't submitted until the students are ready to graduate. Moore says the first step has been to standardize transcript language across the state so they can all read and understand the documents. …

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