Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Cheer on Campus: 4 More Years

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Cheer on Campus: 4 More Years

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods, Times-Union sports columnist

Many things have changed in the last 25 years, starting with the fact that one of John Belushi's lines from Animal House, delivered after hearing that Dean Wormer had expelled the Deltas from Faber, just doesn't have quite the same zing.

"Seven years of college down the drain."

Trust me, kids. Back in the late '70s, we thought that was hilarious.

But seven years of college isn't what it used to be. Sure, we still use the term "four-year schools." We also use the term "wood" to describe a titanium golf club with a graphite shaft.

Four years? These days, by their fourth year, some students have just decided to declare their major as "undeclared." And by the time they graduate, the basketball player who arrived at school with them and left after his sophomore season already is playing in old-timer games.

This has become a big problem for colleges. Not the early exits. The long stays.

There's not enough room for new students. And with the ones who are there not taking enough credits, budgets come up millions of dollars short. So the schools across the country are getting creative, trying to come up with ways to give the students a nudge toward a cap and gown.

Some schools are offering incentives such as tuition breaks for students who take heavier course loads. Others are considering academic penalties for hanging around too long.

And then there is Georgia, where if you don't graduate in four years, you just might have to -- gasp! -- go to the back of the line for football tickets.

Yep, never mind taking away the hard-to-get classes. Hit 'em where it hurts. Football tickets.

Don't panic fifth-year students. This isn't a done deal. Hugh Ruppersburg, an associate dean who heads a committee looking into ways to get students to leave Athens in a timely fashion, says "it is just one of many things we're looking at. …

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