Did you graduate in 4 years? Most Georgia students don’t

Did it take you longer than four years to graduate from a Georgia public college or university? If so, you’re in good company.

Only 1 in 4 — 24 percent –  of entering freshmen in Georgia’s public four-year colleges get a degree within four years, according to a new database compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education that looks at nearly every U.S. college.

Okay, time for bragging rights,  but not much bragging. The University of Georgia has by far the best completion rate in four years — 51.3 percent, compared to just 35.1 percent for Milledgeville’s Georgia College and State University, No. 2 on the list. Georgia Tech is third-highest at 32.9 percent.

Six years seems to be the ticket: Statewide, about 52 percent of students manage to complete a four-year degree within six years. Nearly 80 percent of students at both UGA and Georgia Tech are able to graduate in six years. It’s about 60 percent for Georgia College, according to the Chronicle’s database.

It’s just as bad at two-year colleges, according to the database: Among Georgia students enrolled in two-year colleges, only about one in four, or 25 percent, are completing their coursework, period, according to the data — still that’s  better than the U.S. average of about 20 percent.

The new information comes just as a statewide initiative called Complete College Georgia is pushing state administrators to improve graduation rates by 2020.

The Chronicle database also shows that colleges with the highest graduation rates are often those with the fewest number of low-income students receiving Pell grants.

Only about 18 percent of UGA students and 16 percent of Georgia Tech students were Pell grant recipients, according to the database.

Many schools admit far more low-income students:  about 40 percent of Georgia State University’s students received Pell grants, and 32 percent of Georgia Southern University students. At Albany State University, which had a four-year graduation rate of just 16.3 percent, nearly 72 percent received Pell grants, according to the Chronicle.

Here is the Chronicle’s list of graduation rates for 25 Georgia public colleges and universities.

What stumbling blocks do you see or did you experience while trying to graduate college in four years. Are there good, legitimate reasons for taking more than four years?

105 comments Add your comment

cry me a river

March 7th, 2012
11:34 am

i entered college 3 months after breaking 16 bones in a car wreck.I worked at a bank. I had health problems. I got engaged and married. I also finished in 3 years from UGA with honors magna cum laude. People need to accept a little personal responsibility and just get it done.

SBinF

March 7th, 2012
11:38 am

o_O

Easier said than done. At Ga Tech, even the social science majors take calculus.

Also, the co-op program is quite popular at GT. Folks go to school a semester then work a semester. Takes 5-5 1/2 years to complete the program, yet you graduate with valuable work experience.

Big Red Dawg

March 7th, 2012
11:38 am

I finished at UGA in 3 yrs (straight from high school, got 30 hours of credit from AP classes). Most of my friends there took longer than 4 yrs. When I was there, education majors always took 5 yrs or longer to finish, due to the course program and how highly competitive it was to get into the education school in the first place. Plus, landscape architecture was another popular program that, although considered a 4-yr degree, actually takes 5 yrs to complete all the requisite classes. I assume many other institutions have similar situations.

Will

March 7th, 2012
11:39 am

GT has quite a few COOP students. Apples & Oranges comparing GT and UGA on the issue.

MCH4807

March 7th, 2012
11:41 am

*Pats Cry me a river on the back* You are truly the exception, not the rule. Whether you finish in 3 or 6 the goal is to finish. We all have issues, some just deal with them better than others. Some programs are not designed to be finished in 4 years. Some students are not trying to go to school year round. Makes me wonder what your social life could have posiblly been like, as well as your major. (Just curious)

GT coop

March 7th, 2012
11:44 am

agree with will and SBinF….I completed the co-op program (4 semesters). Sure it’ll take longer but I’ll graduate with relevant work experience. NO sense comparing u(sic)ga to GT.

carla

March 7th, 2012
11:50 am

That’s great, Cry me a River. However, everyone is different and what may have worked for you may not for someone else. I am a non-traditional student who works two jobs and I try to take at least 9 credits per semseter. Also, I also have severe chronic health issues and maintain a 3.91 GPA. No matter how I slice it, I’ll be in school beyond four years for my degree. You can’t always assume that people aren’t taking personal responsibility and doing whatever it takes to get through school. As long as one finishes, who are you to judge?

cry me a lake instead

March 7th, 2012
11:52 am

Yeah, it’s all personal responsibility when you can’t get into the classes you need to finish. When did you graduate, 1980? Things have changed, thanks for your insight into how great you are.

coachx

March 7th, 2012
11:54 am

If you have to work and support yourself through college then its impossible to graduate in 4 years.

corey

March 7th, 2012
11:54 am

I am attending GA State and it has taken me longer than four years. I think the pell grant statistic is relevant because most people that receive it also have to work their way through college. I receive it and work which is making it where i have to take less hours than required to graduate in 4 years. Not saying all at UGA and Milly don’t have to work through school, but a good majority of them do not.

Chuck

March 7th, 2012
11:55 am

Wrong, SBinF – social science majors at Tech take “Introduction to Calculus” – which cannot be used as a calculus credit upon transfer to another school.

Caduceus

March 7th, 2012
11:58 am

I would have finished a quarter early if I hadn’t gone for a minor in comparative lit from UGA, graduating cum laude with a degree in biochemistry. If you’re going full time, there’s not much excuse if you’re paying attention to your degree goal and listening to the guidance counselors.

Jeez

March 7th, 2012
11:59 am

There’s a reason GT students and graduates call it “Getting out” instead of “graduating”

Buzz

March 7th, 2012
12:00 pm

I took five years, because I wanted to enjoy college before I had to buckle down and join the real world (i.e. I was lazy). I took time to enjoy the experience and I’m glad I did. Got out, got a good job and “joined the real world.”

Jack Bauer pees in your tears

March 7th, 2012
12:01 pm

I saved the world in only 24 hours and did it 8 times.

Financial Aid Victim

March 7th, 2012
12:04 pm

Sometimes there are financial aid issues that step in the way of graduating. HOPE changes have forced a lot of students to stop taking full time classes because they now have to work multiple jobs just live below the poverty line. Taking out additional student loans isn’t an option either. Students are already graduating with more debt than they have ever before in history, an average of $10,000 per student. Not to mention these students are graduating into shaky job markets. Do we really want such a young generation starting life off in hole anyway?
Also, some people take care of families, change majors, transfer and lose credits. Sometimes the school changes program requirements which adds to the list of classes you are required to take.
It is not as simple as just having the will and responsibility to finish, cry me a river.

In-State Grad Student

March 7th, 2012
12:05 pm

Take this report with a grain of salt. State institutions are cheap (relatively speaking) which means less pressure to leave in 4 years. Which I think is actually a good thing because you get the chance to take advantage of the many opportunities available to you as a student. Students go abroad for a semester, some work to pay their way through school, family emergencies, job opportunities for a semester or year, the list goes on and on for reasons it takes people to finish college in more than 4 years. Plus, with a struggling job market for college graduates, the longer you stay in school the better chance you have to get yourself pointed in the right direction before venturing out on your own. I would much rather have a structured college environment in which I can learn and continue my job search. As a private school graduate, I can promise you (and there is actually evidence to back this up, recently released) that you will see that number rise pretty noticeably for private schools. Nobody wants to pay $50,000 a year/rack up debt at that rate for longer than they need to. So it becomes graduate early/in four years or pay a lot more money.

Atlanta Native

March 7th, 2012
12:06 pm

This article demonstrates how easily skewed simple statistical data can be, and why it should never be the sole basis of judging the quality of anything or drawing true conclusions. Health problems, work issues, familial issues, and finances can all factor in to extending the college years. And this too: my son is currently at UGA and, because he is combining his bachelor’s with his master’s degree (he is also an Honor student) he won’t graduate until five years or more, either. So while it may take him longer to attain his bachelor’s, his academic achievement will be greater. Further, when a student “doesn’t complete coursework”, they may re-enter college at a later date or complete their degree at an online school, which this data fails to track (apparently). And in the interim they may be contributing to society in other ways.

Hottie

March 7th, 2012
12:11 pm

Cry me a River…I bet your wife is Butt Ugly though

made it out

March 7th, 2012
12:14 pm

I am one of the rare few who made it out of Georgia Tech in 4 years no summers degree in management with 2 concentrations and a major change my 2nd year. Had a bunch of AP credit and I there was many a semester that I took 17+ hours and interned…it can be done.

susan

March 7th, 2012
12:16 pm

As a northern transplant, I was initially astonished at people taking more than 4 years to graduate from college in the South…and California. My ex graduated from tech as a EE in 4 years. I graduated from a northern college in 4 years- could have been 3 1/2 except for the sequential classes only offered in the spring. Going in it was expected from the parental units to finish on time.

kevin

March 7th, 2012
12:17 pm

Cry Me A River,

I suppose when you are majoring in pretentious, judgmental narcissism, it’s pretty easy to get done in 3 years.

Sasser

March 7th, 2012
12:24 pm

Why be in a hurry to grt out in the cruel world!!!!

Road Scholar

March 7th, 2012
12:24 pm

It took me 4.5 years to graduate from Tech. The first 2 semester I took 22 and 23 hours and then settled down to “only”18 hrs…general courses including calculus (30 hrs), chemistry(12) and Physics(12). I finished as a “typical” student in 4.5 years.I didn’t “get out” I was paroled!

I have driven through the UGA campus many times and once with my windows rolled down…got three degrees!

JobMkt

March 7th, 2012
12:25 pm

why graduate in 4 years in this terrible job market? just stay in school, live in cheap housing, eat cheap on campus food, party nonstop and wait for the jobs to come back—very simple.

Oh brother.....

March 7th, 2012
12:26 pm

SBinF
March 7th, 2012
11:38 am

“calculus”.

And your point? Most college bound high school students take calculus. At least I did and so did my children.

Oh brother.....

March 7th, 2012
12:27 pm

Road Scholar
March 7th, 2012
12:24 pm

You need a new comedy writer.

5 year degree

March 7th, 2012
12:28 pm

Glad to hear someone reporting a realistic trend! It took me 5 years to get my degree and you know what, it made no difference in the end. My friends and family gave me years of crap for it but I changed my major three times, had a serious relationship, and worked to pay a part time off campus job to pay tuition and pay for my living expenses and a apartment so I wouldn’t have to live in a crappy dorm with 500 other people. When I graduated, I got a good job with a Fortune 500 company in Atlanta (you know the one) and my work experience paid off because I didn’t just sit around and study all the time and not have a life outside of a college campus.

Oh brother.....

March 7th, 2012
12:29 pm

made it out
March 7th, 2012
12:14 pm

Congrats. Your drive has probably translated to a successful career as well. Most who put forth a solid effort do succeed.

UGA 08

March 7th, 2012
12:30 pm

I’m with you Buzz. It took me 5 years to graduate from UGA, and I wish I could have stretched it out longer. College is one of the best times of your life, so why would you want to leave early? Enjoy cutting college short by 2 or 3 years and then ending up with the same job you would have gotten anyways…….

Oh brother.....

March 7th, 2012
12:31 pm

Why the big deal about taking over 4 years to get a degree? It’s virtually impossible for ANY student to finish in 4 years if they change majors. I got out in 4 but I never changed my major.

Jack Bauer pees in your tears

March 7th, 2012
12:33 pm

I wonder if cry me a river consummated his marriage in 3 seconds too!

Oh brother.....

March 7th, 2012
12:33 pm

5 year degree
March 7th, 2012
12:28 pm

You’ll never regret taking your time.

I thought the work world needed me but I found that wasn’t truly the case. :cool:

the howardchronicles

March 7th, 2012
12:33 pm

I did not graduate in 4 years, as a matter of fact, I was surprised that I graduated at all. I think the university had “milked” about all of the money out of my being a student and decided to give me a diploma. If I had the mentality, I would have quit.

melissa

March 7th, 2012
12:34 pm

I am graduating this May and will be doing so in 4 years, but most of my friends and classmates will not be. I don’t think its a bad thing, you just have to take into account lot of things. Many students have to work part or full time all throughout college, people change their majors, and then change them again. Also many people simply just don’t want an overbearing course load. Personally, I did everything I could to get out in 4 years, because working on the same degree for more than that amount of time seems horrible.

Inlet Dawg

March 7th, 2012
12:40 pm

Six years here,and wish I would have taken seven.UGA class of ‘91 best time of my life.

Oh brother.....

March 7th, 2012
12:43 pm

This from Kiplinger:

Best deals in out-of-state colleges:

#9 UGA (ranked #6 for best in-state college)

The first state-chartered university in America leads among public colleges in the number of scholarships its students have earned. Since 1996, Georgia’s students have included seven Rhodes Scholars, 37 recipients of Goldwater Scholarships and 10 Truman Scholars. Georgia offers 22 bachelor’s degrees in more than 140 fields of study. Out-of-staters with need can enjoy a bit of Southern comfort knowing that need-based aid brings the average price to $28,498 per year.

roughrider

March 7th, 2012
12:43 pm

I spent 4 years in the military before going to UGA. I finished at UGA in 3 years because I was broke.

Non traditional student

March 7th, 2012
12:43 pm

I will complete my degree in 5 years at KSU, and I will graduate with honors. I have taken a full load every semester (Fall/Spring) but took the time off in the summer to spend with my wife and kids. I had worked 60 hours a week for 7 years prior to returning to school, so I am fine with it taking me an extra year while I spent time with my family. I also commute 3 hours round trip to school. My degree also requires 127 credit hours which is more than some others, and I have also taken a few extra courses to make me more marketable after I graduate. Congrats to anyone who can do it faster, but for me, this was my best.

Oh brother.....

March 7th, 2012
12:47 pm

Inlet Dawg
March 7th, 2012
12:40 pm

My brother felt the same way. I didn’t. I was broke most of the time working 2 part time jobs to pay my way. I graduated with $64 in my account.

Oh brother.....

March 7th, 2012
12:48 pm

roughrider
March 7th, 2012
12:43 pm

Kudos for your service, roughrider.

atlmom

March 7th, 2012
12:51 pm

When I entered college, it was as an engineering major, and basically, they told my parents and me that it would take more than 5 years, because if you took a full load, at 15 credits a semester, then you weren’t going to be able to graduate in four years.
I did take four years, because I changed my major (math) – but most engineering students take more than four years, due to the number of credits and the institution (and taking more than the 5 classes is hard, because, well, those classes can get VERY difficult and time consuming).
BUT with this data – maybe we can look at the whole craziness of ‘everyone should go to college’ – it is NOT for everyone, never was meant to be. And why should we be forcing kids to spend time in college when it’s not for them?
Maybe we need more ’studies’ as to the qualities of those who do obtain a degree…in six years or so. Otherwise, we keep sending kids to college when they then fail out and it’s very sad.

Rick E. Bobby

March 7th, 2012
1:02 pm

UGA is a joke school. Basically, anyone with a pulse can TRANSFER to uga. That is FACT.

Surprised its 4 years, i would have thought the average tenure there was about 2.5 years. What a laugher of an education.

Bleedblue

March 7th, 2012
1:03 pm

dawgfan

March 7th, 2012
1:06 pm

Unless you are working your way through school I’ve never seen any legitimate excuse for not graduating in 4 years. I never understood it. When it comes time to register I just went down to the computer lab, signed up for classes, and then went to them. I took a full load and still had all the free time in the world. What in the hell else do you have to do in college? Like I said, unless you are having to pay your own way and work the only reason it would take more than 4 years is laziness.

Thanks.

KJ

March 7th, 2012
1:07 pm

I wish I could bet on things like “the average UGA grad makes more money than losers like Rick E. Bobby”

Tech lies and cheats

March 7th, 2012
1:07 pm

GTu students / alumni –

How often were you robbed or mugged on your way to class or back to your dorm?

Forgot my name

March 7th, 2012
1:11 pm

Does anyone ever flunk out of Georgia??? Is it possible???

Road Scholar

March 7th, 2012
1:12 pm

bart

March 7th, 2012
1:17 pm

Who cares whether you graduate in 4, 5, or 6 years? The important thing is that you graduate. There are many good reasons why someone does not graduate in 4 years.