Local News

UNC wants students out after four years

Posted September 9, 2008

— University of North Carolina officials are working to keep students on track academically to meet a year-old policy that gives students eight semesters to earn their degrees.

The policy, which applies to all members of the Class of 2011 and subsequent classes, lops one semester off the old standard at UNC. Since 1993, university officials have required school approval for any student who wanted more than nine semesters to graduate.

Last year, 58 students petitioned for a 10th semester at UNC. Administrators approved 48 requests, and the others graduated.

"There are so many students here that it's probably better to keep them going and push people to try and finish on time," junior Emily Bald said. "I think most people probably want to finish on time."

UNC spokeswoman Dee Reid said most students graduate in four years. For example, 71 percent of students who entered in 1999 graduated on time, she said.

Reid said the policy change saves students, their families and North Carolina taxpayers money and opens classroom spaces for incoming students.

Jesse Arthur, a fifth-year senior, called the eight-semester limit as "a little over the top," saying he didn't know what he wanted to major in when he came to UNC.

"I feel like (the fifth year has) been an advantage to me. It gave me more time to figure out what I want, and I feel confident in what I want to do. I'm glad I had that extra year to do that," Arthur said.


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  • zanerx Sep 10, 2008

    "And, just a question ... if it takes someone 5 years to graduate, which is something like 12 hours a semester, they might want to consider whether they're actually suited for higher education. danriverboy"

    Here's your answer: That's a ridiculous remark. It was bad enough in my day to try to make all the right decisions to graduate in four years and I knew what I wanted to major in by my second semester. Taking out all the slack that might be necessary for a student to adjust to a relatively independent lifestyle and college studying requirements, and still make a timely decision as to what he/she wants to do in life, is shortsighted and self-serving on the part of the University. I expect this idea to quietly go away.

  • Trolling Wolf Sep 10, 2008

    A UNC grad told me that during her junior year she wanted to change her major, but she was told no since it would require too much time to graduate.

  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ Sep 10, 2008

    I am not sure the business rationale in limiting undergraduate students to 4 years only. I can understand 5 years, with the 5th year can be a time buffer for the student.

    I took 11 years to finish my undergrad because I was working full time and going part-time school for the first 7 years. I changed my major once, after taking Calc I three times, Calc II twice, and Calc III twice; which was when I realized I need to move on from Computer Engineering to Management Information Systems (aka Business). I then went full-time work and school in my last 4 years, because my work was very close to the university and I can go to lunch time classes. I also had both a major and a minor, where I was fortunate to win a scholarship from an essay contest to pay for the extra effort.

    Bottom line is that if I was attending UNC under their new rules, I would have most likely been kicked out.

    BTW, I now have a masters degree, but I finished that in 2 years while working full-time & married :-)

  • fuzzmom Sep 10, 2008

    What about the students who end up taking remedial classes? What about athletic "red shirts"? So, if you're not doing well in your major and want to change, you're stuck? I certainly how these situation apply to the waiver option. Especially those trying to work their way through. . .

  • Timbo Sep 10, 2008

    As I said, it's about money, what's best for the university, and what's best for the administrator's careers.

    It's no longer about what's best for resident North Carolina students.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Sep 10, 2008

    I believe it depends on the individual person. Many students work to support themselves through school along with the parents help, of course.

  • sat123 Sep 10, 2008

    Eh. What one person does has no bearing on what another person does. For every person who changed majors twice, double majored, and graduated in 4.5 years, there's someone like me. I started in German, went to PoliSci, took a number of Comm courses as electives and ended up adding it as a double major, had almost a full year's worth of AP credit coming in, took one summer's worth of classes (both sessions), and worked anywhere from 2-3 jobs for around 20-40 hours per week the whole time - and still graduated in three years.

    I'm not saying anyone else could do what I did. It's dependent entirely on how many AP courses your high school had, how many you took and passed, how high your scores were (a 4 in English is entirely different than a 4 in Calculus AB), if you had to have a job during the year, how many jobs you had to have, how much family support you had, what your major was, how dedicated you are to graduating on time...

  • ncsu2000 Sep 10, 2008

    if money is an issue does UNC not charge extra for tuition once students have a certain number of hours over the amount needed to obtain a degree? NC State starts charge 125% for tution at a certain point.

    Also I would think if you are a double major they would allow for more time to graduate, does it say everyone no matter what needs to graduate in 4 years?

  • BigUNCFan Sep 10, 2008

    Kind of hard to double major or take extra classes for fun that are not in your major. Also, from personal experience, if a section is full and you need it to get your degree, you can be in a big bind and may have to take an extra semester or take the class somewhere else and hope they take the transfer credit.

  • Tracey1229 Sep 10, 2008

    It's really not that difficult to graduate in four years... although most people do have to take one semester of summer courses. I went to UNC, didn't decide on my majors officially until the end of my junior year (although I had been taking classes that I thought might end up being for my major, and then some that were extra)...I double majored and graduated in four years. I can understand an extra semester, but I think a lot of people just don't take as heavy as a load as they are capable of. The other thing that factors in is studying abroad, which I didn't get to do and I regret... but you need to make sure that the classes you take abroad will apply to your graduating hours if you have committed to being in college.