CU is working to increase the number of students who receive their undergraduate degrees within six years.
The current rate of undergraduate students at CU-Boulder who receive their degree within six years currently stands at 68 percent. The university plans to raise this to 71 percent.
The Colorado Department of Higher Education stated in a November report that one of its goals is to “focus on keeping Colorado nationally and internationally competitive by doubling the number of degrees and certificates by 2020.”
CU plans to raise its graduation rates to align with the goals outlined in the report.
Michael Grant, the associate vice chancellor for undergraduate education credits student programs like ROTC, the Student Academic Services Center and the Ethnic Living and Learning Community, said these programs help raise the graduation rate because they provide support for students.
“The general principle is the more support students get from faculty and staff, the more guidance, the more encouragement, the more welcome the students feel on this campus, the more likely they are to graduate successfully,” Grant said.
Grant said budget cuts that influence student tuition and fees also affect student programs.
“Budget cuts always reduce our ability to assist,” Grant said.
According to CU’s Office of Planning, Budget and Analysis, while the six-year threshold is a standard marker for university graduation rates, CU still focuses on undergraduates completing their degree program within four years.
Samuel Cusumano, a 24-year-old senior MCD biology major, will graduate in five years. He said he values his education, but feels he has to take more classes than should be necessary.
“I feel that for my major, in Arts and Sciences, there are a bunch of auxiliary classes that I’m forced to take,” Cusumano said. “My last two semesters are essentially classes that have nothing to do with my major. I understand the school wants a well-rounded student, but it’s a nice way for them to make extra money.”
Cusumano said he knows other fifth-year seniors in his position, but does not know any students who have attended the university longer than six years or who have graduated in fewer than four years.
Brittany Waschke, a 23-year-old senior Japanese literature and language and studio arts double major, said her double degree will take five years and bring her close to 180 credit hours. She said the investment is worthwhile.
“I try to make the most of [my] time here,” Waschke said. “[The] courses I did take I felt were well worth it.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Thomas Cuffe at Thomas.firstname.lastname@example.org.