Survey: One third of TX students graduate in four years

Friday, April 19, 2013 - 10:54pm

One group is calling it a "Texas-sized problem. A new report says fewer than one third of Texas students entering four year universities graduate in four years.
Texas college students are behind other states when it comes to graduating on time, according to the Complete College America survey.
Here are some statistics for you:
Each year, Texans earns $57 m worth of college credits that are not needed for their degrees. And over five years, more than $500m in state and grant aid go to students that eventually drop out.

The survey offers strategies to help reduce those numbers. They think universities should push students to take 15 credits instead of the usual 12. That idea, not a favorite around campus today.

"Fifteen hours is just too much. I work. I have work study here at UTEP. Twelve hours for me was a lot. It was a lot," said UTEP student Carla Garcia.

"I've had to take up to 17, and that's been the load and the worst part is when you have to work. So it just feels like its too much. I wasn't able to really pass those classes. I feel like I just brought my GPA down," said UTEP student Oskar Yee.

UTEP President Diana Natalicio says implementing a one size fits all program is not a good idea.

"Nearly every student on this campus is employed while going to school. Some students are employed more hours than other students. To tell every single student, that they must enroll in 15 hours a semester, even if they're working 40 hours a week, seems a little bit unreasonable," said UTEP President Diana Natalicio.

Natalicio says her main concern is that students complete their degrees, not how quickly they do it.

This survey also suggested earlier academic counseling so students don't waste time taking unnecessary credits.

"There are a few classes I have taken that I don't need," said Garcia.

And lastly the survey suggests having students get to work on their major courses, while they complete their general ed requirements. Right now, students have to complete those classes, before they begin working towards their specialty.

This is all part of a program called Outcome Based Funding, meant to tie some state funding for universities based on performance.

Governor Rick Perry has embraced this concept, but efforts to implement it here have fallen short over the last two legislative sessions.


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