School officials react to report of fewer college students graduating on time

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – How long does it generally take for college students in Indiana to graduate with a four-year degree? Well, according to a new report, most are not graduating on time.  

NewsChannel 15 spoke with officials at Indiana Tech, University of St. Francis, and Ivy Tech Community College-Northeast about the new report.  All of the officials brought up the same point: higher education is evolving.  It’s changing because they’re beginning to see more non-traditional students, and they have a different set of needs.

“Universities and colleges are seeing a greater diversity of kinds of students, and you’re also seeing more of a demand of personalization in the college experience,” Indiana Tech’s Brian Englehart explained.

The idea of the traditional student is changing.  Going to school full-time and graduating in four years.  According to Brian Englehart at Indiana Tech, that’s not the norm anymore.

“Only about 20-30 percent of students actually out there taking college courses fall into that category.”

The fact is. college officials say they can’t expect every student to meet cookie cutter expectations.  Certainly there are advantages to graduating on time, but for some they just need the extra time.

“The reality is life happens and there are many circumstances that arise in a student’s academic journey in which due to family obligations or work obligations they might go part time. They might take a semester out,” Dr. Andrew Prall at the University of St. Francis told NewsChannel 15.

After all, the staff at colleges and universities in the area want to help their students reach their goals.  And if that means scheduling an extra internship, picking up another major or simply taking time off – that’s okay.

“We are into developing people. And helping them reach their particular education or career goal. With that, it really is important that we look at that individual and how their life is accommodating to that educational offering. And I believe that’s what we’re doing at Ivy Tech,” Chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College-Northeast Jerrilee Mosier said.

Now, Indiana colleges and universities do offer incentives to get students out the door faster.  The reason why: a higher on-time completion rate means more state funding dollars. 

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