In the face of mounting student debt, pressure from political leaders to rein in the cost of attending college, and the rising number of years undergraduates are taking to finish their degrees, Indiana State University has announced a program that guarantees that students will finish their degree in four years. If the student meets all stated requirements and cannot graduate in the allotted time, the University itself will cover the cost of the courses the student needs to finish his or her degree.
Indiana State isn’t the first university to offer such a guarantee to its students, which requires that participants sign a contract, have frequent advisor meetings to discuss progress, etc. But it is the most recent addition to a growing number of schools that are being proactive in an attempt to provide their students with the most cost-effective education they can.
Success in programs like these, however, also requires students to do their part in order to graduate in four years. Students must take a certain number of credits per year, develop an appropriate course plan, commit to a major at the start of their sophomore year, etc. If all planning ahead fails and the student is unable to complete their required courses in time, only then does the college kick in to cover the cost of the remaining course(s).
Are programs like these worth it? If for nothing else, the comfort of knowing you, as the student, are only responsible for four years of tuition can be helpful. It may also provide some needed motivation for students who may lack it. In the end, it’s important to know your own learning style, and what is effective for you. If a traditional college program seems daunting or is made impossible by personal circumstance, these programs might not be the best option.