Southern students do not graduate in 4 years, on average


Andreas Yilma and Grace Sampson – Special to the Southern News 

When Mike Bendtsen, a first year senior and communication major enrolled in Southern Connecticut State University in the fall of 2011, he had the hopes of earning his degree in four years as expected.

“I’m actually going to be graduating in 2016,” said Bendtsen, “and that’s partly due because I switched from organization communication to film, television and video production.”

While undergraduates’ education is looked to be completed in four years, many students, particularly in public universities, take five or more to obtain a degree. Data obtained from The Chronicle of Higher Education illustrates the graduation rate of Southern Connecticut State University, Western Connecticut State University, Eastern Connecticut State University, Central Connecticut State University, and University of Connecticut.

“The average time for a Southern undergraduate to get a degree is 4.5 years,” said Richard Riccardi, associate vice president for institutional effectiveness.

SCSU – 15.7 percent graduated in four years while 42 percent graduated in six years.

CCSU – 16.7 percent graduated in four years while 47.6 percent graduated in six years.

ECSU – 32 percent graduated in four years while 52.4 percent graduated in six years.

WCSU – 44.1 percent graduated in four years while 16 percent graduated in six years.

UCONN – 80.7 percent graduated in four years while 65.8 percent graduated in six years.

In total, all CT Universities graduated 61.5 percent in four years while 40.6 percent graduated in six years.

According to the Integrated Postsecondary Education System, out of the 1,319 first time freshmen in SCSU, 0.3 percent graduated in four years in 2011.

Reasons for delaying graduation are numerous. For example, there are some part-time students, students who start and stop, change of majors, program requirements, transfer students and more. With 1,532 transferred student accepted in the fall of 2013 in SCSU, 764 were enrolled.

“Roughly 40 percent of students are transferred and that percentage is not accountable in the graduation rate,” said Marianne Kennedy, Ph.D., and associate vice president for academic affairs.

Out of the 8,525 undergraduate students at SCSU, 17.3 percent graduate on time, but 43.7 percent do eventually graduate.

“This is a national reality, not just Southern,” said Dr. Tracy Tyree, vice president for student affairs. “In fact, the national data typically considers a 6-year graduation rate.”

Photo Credit: Monica Zielinski

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