Most undergraduate students are seeking four-year college degrees. However, some students end up staying for an extra quarter, semester or even year if they change their majors, take the wrong electives or add a minor or specialization. It happens more often than one would think.
So to further increase their educational quality, some colleges are guaranteeing that incoming freshmen will receive a degree within four years, according to an article in the Washington Post.
Randolph-Macon College in Ashland Virginia recently announced that it was guaranteeing degrees within four years, assuming students follow a few institutional policies. If something goes slightly awry and a student does not receive a degree in four years, then the college promises to waive all tuition fees until that student earns his/her degree.
The small liberal arts college is hoping to increase its already strong reputation of producing timely degrees. Currently, 95% of students receive a degree within four years at Randolph-Macon.
This guarantee represents the much larger initiative of offering a truly valuable college experience that the nation’s most elite and most expensive colleges are facing. The education world has been criticizing the nation’s most expensive colleges, urging them to be completely worth their high tuition prices.
Other colleges have offered similar guarantees or have promised to lock students’ tuition costs for four years, meaning that students pay the same price as they did their freshman year, protecting them significant tuition hikes.
However, other colleges like Albion College, a liberal arts school in Michigan, have taken their student guarantees even further. Albion guarantees that every graduate will be gainfully employed, assuming they follow the colleges’ rules.
Randolph-Macon College does not typically rank as one of the nation’s most expensive colleges (colleges that charge $40,000 tuition plus fees). However, it is still far more expensive than the average college with a $20,000 sticker price.
This four-year degree guarantee is effective now, and it applies to any full-time student who follows the college’s rules that are stated in its student handbook.
The rules are fairly simple. To be eligible for the degree guarantee, a student must meet all academic requirements on course load, GPA and declaring a major, meet regularly with his/her adviser, register for courses on time, pay tuition on time and stay out of disciplinary trouble.
"The very nature of a Randolph-Macon College education allows us to make this four-year commitment with confidence," said Robert Lindgren, the President of Randolph-Macon College. "This program underscores the value and benefits of the liberal arts education we provide."