College students take longer to graduate - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

College students take longer to graduate

Posted: Updated:

Millions of high school graduates are encouraged to go to college. Going is good. Finishing is better. A report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center says just 54 percent of college students graduate within six years.

Alabama ranks 36th for timely graduations. Less than one quarter of this state's college students get a four year degree in four years. Six is the new four.

"The idea that you can complete you bachelors degree within a four year window really has been with us for a long time," said Gordon Stone, Executive Director of Alabama's Higher Education Partnership.

Stone believes there are many reasons students are taking longer than four years to graduate. He says the primary reason is funding.

"One of the things that we recognize is the diminishing about of state funding seen on Alabama for our public universities has caused stress on the budgets of those students," said Stone.

Tyler Peterson is dean of enrollment management Auburn University Montgomery. He says tuition in the state has doubled in the last ten years, and the financial stress keeps students from finishing sooner.

"They are having to balance a schedule of classes, work, as well as family. And that leads to a longer graduation time with us," said Peterson.

Class availability is also an issue. Many students say their graduation is delayed because courses are not being offered during the semesters they want to enroll.

Stone says that too boils down to funding. He says the number of classes offered depends heavily on a university's operations and maintenance dollars.

"The availability of courses is a function of the availability of resources. If you don't have as much funding available through your O and am , what we call operations and maintenance appropriation, you may offer that class one semester versus two semesters," said Stone.

He says operations and maintenance funding is used to repair buildings, pay for classroom technology and more importantly, pay the salaries of the people who must teach the course.

"Sometimes people say 'well you've got all these endowments, so you've got these research grants. Why don't you just use those to offset that?' the level of state funding, which directly impacts O and M, does have an impact on the availability of professors, does have an impact on the availability of classroom," said Stone.

Even against what seem like overwhelming financial odds, universities say they are doing what they can to encourage timely graduations. Starting this fall at Auburn Montgomery, students will take a mandatory twelve-week class to learn time-management and more.

"Everything from managing money, to personal relationships, how to interact with a professor, how to study, how to take notes," said Peterson.

At the University of Alabama Birmingham, an online system called GPS allows students to track their credit hours.

"Another component of that is early alert system where students that are in academic trouble have an opportunity to track their academic progress. And that early alert will send out to faculty and staff and ask them for their input," said Kimberly Cunningham, director of UAB's Academic Success Center.

For a breakdown of Alabama college graduation rates click on the link below.

http://collegecompletion.chronicle.com/state/#state=al&sector=public_four

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Moody High School students mourn death of classmate

    Moody High School students mourn death of classmate

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 3:51 PM EDT2014-08-19 19:51:03 GMT
    Students at Moody High School are mourning the loss of their classmate. 16-year-old Jonathan Harris, a sophomore died Monday night from injuries sustained in a weekend rollover accident on Roberts Mill Pond Road in Pell City. Students wore blue on Tuesday, the school color of Moody High School, the same color he wore on the football field and on the wrestling mat. "Jonathan was always one of those kids who had a smile on his face. You would never catch him frowning or in a bad mood. He was ...More >>
    Students at Moody High School are mourning the loss of their classmate. 16-year-old Jonathan Harris, a sophomore died Monday night from injuries sustained in a weekend rollover accident on Roberts Mill Pond Road in Pell City. Students wore blue on Tuesday, the school color of Moody High School, the same color he wore on the football field and on the wrestling mat. "Jonathan was always one of those kids who had a smile on his face. You would never catch him frowning or in a bad mood. He was ...More >>
  • Alabama alligator hunter demolishes state record with 15-foot, 1000-pound gator

    Alabama alligator hunter demolishes state record with 15-foot, 1000-pound gator

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 12:35 PM EDT2014-08-19 16:35:24 GMT
    A family battled a 1,000-pound alligator for more than five hours, putting several large hooks into the beast before firing a fatal shotgun blast into the gator's head.More >>
    A family battled a 1,000-pound alligator for more than five hours, putting several large hooks into the beast before firing a fatal shotgun blast into the gator's head.
    More >>
  • Essential oils not allowed to be kept in JeffCo schools

    Essential oils not allowed to be kept in JeffCo schools

    Monday, August 18 2014 5:02 PM EDT2014-08-18 21:02:48 GMT
    The latest item to hit school ban lists are essential oils. Parents say these plant oils help their children suffering from seemingly most ailments from asthma to allergies. Jefferson County schools will not allow school nurses to administer them. Students cannot even keep them in lockers.More >>
    The latest item to hit school ban lists are essential oils. Parents say these plant oils help their children suffering from seemingly most ailments from asthma to allergies. Jefferson County schools will not allow school nurses to administer them. Students cannot even keep them in lockers.
    More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Vulcan Park and Museum to host 10th concert series

    Vulcan Park and Museum to host 10th concert series

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 8:47 AM EDT2014-08-20 12:47:46 GMT
    Vulcan Park and Museum plans to offer the Vulcan® AfterTunes Concert Series on September 28, October 12 and October 26, 2014. More >>
    Vulcan Park and Museum plans to offer the Vulcan® AfterTunes Concert Series on September 28, October 12 and October 26, 2014. More >>
  • Firefighters battle house fire in Ensley

    Firefighters battle house fire in Ensley

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 8:12 AM EDT2014-08-20 12:12:44 GMT
    Birmingham Fire and Rescue is battling a house fire in the 2600 block of Ave S in Ensley.More >>
    Birmingham Fire and Rescue is battling a house fire in the 2600 block of Ave S in Ensley.More >>
  • Civil rights icon believes protesters in Ferguson, MO can learn from Birmingham

    Civil rights icon believes protesters in Ferguson, MO can learn from Birmingham

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 11:50 PM EDT2014-08-20 03:50:00 GMT
    People in the Magic City are holding protests and expressing concern for the situation in Missouri. Sarah Snyder spoke with a local civil rights icon - who hopes Birmingham can be an example to people in Ferguson. More >>
    People in the Magic City are holding protests and expressing concern for the situation in Missouri. Sarah Snyder spoke with a local civil rights icon - who hopes Birmingham can be an example to people in Ferguson. More >>
  • Carl Edwards to join JGR in 2015

    Carl Edwards to join JGR in 2015

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 11:08 PM EDT2014-08-20 03:08:24 GMT
    NASCAR's hottest free agent is off the board. Carl Edwards was introduced as the newest member of the Joe Gibbs Racing team on Tuesday."It means the world to me to have this opportunity and to be a part of this organization," Edwards said. "It'll be nice to finally talk about this."Rumor linked Edwards to JGR ever since he announced last month that he was ending his ten year partnership with Roush Fenway Racing.Edwards will drive the No. 19 Toyota next season. It's the fourth piece to an impr...More >>
    NASCAR's hottest free agent is off the board. Carl Edwards was introduced as the newest member of the Joe Gibbs Racing team on Tuesday."It means the world to me to have this opportunity and to be a part of this organization," Edwards said. "It'll be nice to finally talk about this."Rumor linked Edwards to JGR ever since he announced last month that he was ending his ten year partnership with Roush Fenway Racing.Edwards will drive the No. 19 Toyota next season. It's the fourth piece to an impr...More >>
  • Auburn's Patrick Young could miss season with knee injury

    Auburn's Patrick Young could miss season with knee injury

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:32 PM EDT2014-08-20 02:32:07 GMT
    Auburn's H-back position has taken an injury hit for the second consecutive week.Patrick Young suffered a serious knee injury last week, and he may not be available to play at all in 2014."Patrick Young, that was kind of a tough deal," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. "Patrick Young hurt his knee, a senior walk-on, a guy's that's really been phenomenal for our program and finally was in a spot where he was going to get a chance to help us." Malzahn announced last week that H-back Gage Batten is...More >>
    Auburn's H-back position has taken an injury hit for the second consecutive week.Patrick Young suffered a serious knee injury last week, and he may not be available to play at all in 2014."Patrick Young, that was kind of a tough deal," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. "Patrick Young hurt his knee, a senior walk-on, a guy's that's really been phenomenal for our program and finally was in a spot where he was going to get a chance to help us." Malzahn announced last week that H-back Gage Batten is...More >>
  • WATCH: Nick Saban, Alabama football team complete Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS

    WATCH: Nick Saban, Alabama football team complete Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:58 PM EDT2014-08-20 01:58:10 GMT
    You know Nick Saban would never back down from a challenge, especially one that's for such a worthy cause.More >>
    You know Nick Saban would never back down from a challenge, especially one that's for such a worthy cause.More >>
  • 2 killed in helicopter crash in Tuscaloosa County (update)

    2 killed in helicopter crash in Tuscaloosa County (update)

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:15 PM EDT2014-08-20 01:15:41 GMT
    One of the two people killed in a helicopter crash in Tuscaloosa County was an Alabama Power employee, a company spokesperson confirmed to ABC 33/40.More >>
    One of the two people killed in a helicopter crash in Tuscaloosa County was an Alabama Power employee, a company spokesperson confirmed to ABC 33/40. More >>
  • Texas Gov. Perry booked on abuse of power charges

    Texas Gov. Perry booked on abuse of power charges

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 8:56 PM EDT2014-08-20 00:56:36 GMT
    Gov. Rick Perry was defiant Tuesday as he was booked on abuse of power charges, telling dozens of cheering supporters outside a Texas courthouse that he would "fight this injustice with every fiber of my being."More >>
    Gov. Rick Perry was defiant Tuesday as he was booked on abuse of power charges, telling dozens of cheering supporters outside a Texas courthouse that he would "fight this injustice with every fiber of my being."More >>