UW campuses work to get graduates out in 4 years

At least two University of Wisconsin campuses are working to boost the number of students graduating within four years, in part by limiting the number of credits required for degrees.

Administrators at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie limited the credits required for most degrees to 120, instead of the previous 124 to 130 credits. Four engineering programs require more credits because of accreditation requirements.

The university also revised its lineup of general education classes for freshmen so they can graduate more quickly with the same set of skills needed for work, UW-Stout Chancellor Charles Sorensen said in a news release.

“We heard the concern over the rising cost of higher education loud and clear,” Sorensen said. “These changes will allow our students to graduate in four years while still giving them the exceptional and rigorous education they and their future employers have come to expect from us.”

Officials at UW-Eau Claire also are aiming to have more students graduate in four years. About four-fifths of that school’s programs require 120 credits for graduation.

Administrators are taking a look at classes with high failure rates, giving students credit for their experiences and offering peer mentoring to help them succeed, said Michael Wick, associate vice chancellor of academic affairs.

About 21 percent of the students who enrolled as freshmen at UW-Stout in 2007 graduated in four years, the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reported. At UW-Eau Claire, the rate for the 2007 incoming class was about 27 percent. Overall, the UW System four-year graduation rate for 2007 freshmen was nearly 29 percent. UW-Madison’s was much higher, at 55 percent.