Graduating in four years essential

Northwind Staff

A 2006 report from the Michigan House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education compiled by Kyle I. Jen, a fiscal analyst, ranked NMU ninth out of the 15 public universities in Michigan in terms of bachelor’s-degree student graduation rates.

Only 21.8 percent of NMU students graduated in four years, 42.4 percent in five years and 45.1 percent in six years.

More students are taking five or more years to complete a bachelor’s degree at NMU, and the university should focus not only on retaining students but helping them to graduate in four years.

The average course load an undergraduate student took on in the 2012 fall semester was roughly 14 credits.

In order to complete all 124 required credits for an NMU bachelor’s degree, a student would have to take 16 or more credits per semester to graduate in four years.

It is often the case that some required courses for a student’s degree are offered infrequently, which impedes a student’s ability to satisfy those classes for their major or minor. While advisers can help students create a plan for reaching graduation, the departments on campus must offer those courses required on a timely basis. Graduating in four years saves not only time but money.

The Parents of NMU Students page on NMU’s website estimates the annual cost of each additional years of schooling is $8,700 for the 2012-13 year, but that doesn’t factor in the cost of books and other supplies needed for school.

During a time when student loans are overburdening recent graduates, NMU should take charge and initiate a campaign on campus educating students on the benefits of graduating in four years.

If students are given greater access to information and their advisers plan out a four-year degree with them, NMU graduates will reduce their overall debt during a time when graduates all over the country are facing financial hardships.

NMU should show the students some love this Valentine’s Day, and start working towards a program to help students get on track to a four-year degree.