Time Limits on College Attendance?

There may soon be a limit on how much time students can spend at the University of Texas without attaining a bachelor’s degree. According to an Associated Press article in the Austin American-Statesman

A task force on Tuesday recommended requiring students at the University of Texas to complete their bachelor’s degrees in 10 semesters or five years.

The school in Austin currently has no time limit for earning an undergraduate degree. In 2003, another task force recommended a 10-semester limit.

“By remaining at the university for extended periods, these students reduce the university’s capacity to serve other students who wish to attend UT, both freshmen and transfers,” said the report by the Second Task Force on Enrollment Strategy.

If the plan is successfully instituted, UT students will be essentially kicked out of school if they fail to earn a degree in 10 semesters.

This focus on time limits for degrees is becoming increasingly popular across the country. The California State University system is apparently also looking to kick out what the Sacramento Bee calls super seniors.

But why do students stay so long in college? It can’t just be because students are lazy and indecisive. Is it because they like to go to frat parties? Probably not.

For logistical reasons it’s obviously troublesome for officials at a four-year school to have many students remaining for more than four years. But considering the average American college student takes six years to finish school, maybe colleges should look at the institutional reasons students take so long to graduate.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer