Universities: Let's Get Them Out the Door in Four

Graham Barnes

With concerns over rising expenses, including tuition and cost of living, officials at UW-Eau Claire and UW-Stout are working toward increasing four-year graduation rates.
UW-Stout recently announced plans to limit the number of credits required in 40 of its 44 undergraduate programs from 124 to 120. A student averaging 15 credits per semester over the course of eight semesters, or four years, would earn his or her degree under these new guidelines. At UW-Eau Claire, meanwhile, about 80 percent of undergraduate degrees only require 120 credits, the Leader-Telegram reported. UW-Eau Claire plans to create and implement a program for incoming freshman that will assist in maintaining a four-year graduation plan. It also plans to continue studying hurdles to four-year program completion and improvements to courses with high failure rates. According to the UW System, about 19 percent of the freshmen who entered UW-Stout in the fall of 2008 graduated in four years. At UW-Eau Claire, the figure was about 29 percent, roughly same as the four-year graduation rate in the UW System as a whole.