Indiana

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How Indiana State University Is Helping Students Graduate In Four Years

Indiana State University in Terre Haute will offer incoming freshman a guarantee they can graduate in four years.

It won’t make students go to class or study for finals, but it will ensure Indiana State University students have the resources they need to graduate on time.

It’s called the Sycamore Graduation Guarantee – and it’s a promise to students that if they need more than four years to complete their degree, then ISU will foot the bill. Incoming freshman can sign the guarantee during their summer orientation or anytime during their first year.

“Statistically, the longer you take to get out of college, the less chance you have of finishing,” ISU President Dan Bradley said Wednesday as the university unveiled its plan to increase the number of students who graduate in four years. “Students who drag it out for five, six, seven years, there’s a lot of them out there who just don’t finish.”

Now, students have to do their part to finish on time – by signing the guarantee, they’re pledging to meet with their adviser, declare a major and make sufficient progress toward graduation each semester. In exchange, ISU promises to provide students with access to advisers and tools to track their progress. Students must take 30-32 credit hours a year to comply with the guarantee.

“Maybe they won’t get the guarantee, but still, there’s a process that’s going to tell them when they should graduate and what they need to do graduate and what they need to do to keep that timeline from receding on them.”
– Dan Bradley, ISU President

Admittedly, the new guarantee won’t help students who change their majors or fall behind on required coursework, Bradley said. It’s more of a checklist that students can use to make sure they’re taking the right classes at the right time.

“The plan is these reports will help them and their advisers on helping them get back,” Bradley said. “Maybe they won’t get the guarantee, but still, there’s a process that’s going to tell them when they should graduate and what they need to do graduate and what they need to do to keep that timeline from receding on them.”

Bradley says he’s not sure how many students graduate late because of factors ISU can control, but he hopes the guarantee will signal to prospective students (and their parents, he was quick to note) that the university is serious about raising its four year graduation rate. About one-fifth of ISU students currently graduate in four years.

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