To get students on track, some colleges have started to adopt programs encouraging students to take 15 credits per semester. With families worried about the cost of college, improving time to degree is one way to lower costs and reduce student loan burdens, said Venit.
University of Central Florida launched its “Think 30” campaign in 2015, touting the time and cost benefits of completing 30 course hours per year, and offering resources to help map out a path to graduation.
“We try to create a mindset that graduation starts Day One,” said Delaine Priest, associate vice president for student development and enrollment services at UCF.
It’s too early to say how the program will influence on-time graduation rates. But in the 2015-2016 academic year, 64 percent of the college’s full-time freshmen took 30 credits, up from 60 percent who did so a year earlier. The “Think 30” cohort also had an average GPA of 3.2, versus 2.6 for those who took 24 or fewer credits.