In reality, the average time-to-degree for students in the U

Most people imagine that a bachelor’s degree takes four years to complete, the length of time that programs are designed to take. S. who complete a bachelor’s degree is 5.1 years. That means that they may be paying 28% more in tuition and fees than they had intended at the time they enrolled.

While the failure to complete a degree program is often driven by students changing majors or needing to retake classes that are required for graduation, delays are sometimes caused by colleges that fail to offer enough seats in courses that students need for graduation.

Some colleges are responding to the latter problem. These guarantees often require students to meet with an advisor periodically throughout their academic career to ensure that, if possible, they are making strides toward on-time graduation. If students, despite efforts with the support of an advisor, fail to get through their degree in four years, they are generally able to enroll in courses without having to pay tuition until they’ve completed their degree.

While on-time graduation guarantees benefit students, they didn’t necessarily come about in response to student demands. In fact, most students aren’t aware that extended enrollment is an issue. Instead, it seems that institutions may be responding to pressure from third-party observers, namely U.S. News & World Report, which ranks institutions higher if more of their students graduate on time. SUNY Buffalo cites an improved ranking from U.S. News as a positive outcome of the finish in four program in a press release.

Understanding Student Attitudes on Risk

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As someone who studies the economic and financial risks of higher education, I think that guarantees sound like a great idea.