5-Year Plan May Become the Limit at UT

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Paul Thompson
    If the plan passes, undergraduate degrees must be completed in five years.

    Jokes about being on the five-year plan to complete four years of college could become a reality.

    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.

    UT students take 8.5 semesters on average to earn the degree, the Austin American-Statesman reported Wednesday. Eight semesters, or four years, is considered standard.

    "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.

    The review by the 20-member panel of faculty members, administrators, students and an official of the alumni association will go to UT President William Powers Jr. and other school executives.

    Students seeking a bachelor's degree would retain the right to appeal for more time in special circumstances. The rule would not apply to degree programs designed to be completed in more than four years, such as some architecture and engineering programs.

    The task force also called for limits on how often students may change majors.

    Keshav Rajagopalan, a task force member and a former president of UT's Student Government, says a limit tells students that "it's not an open-ended stay."

    Rajagopalan will graduate in May after five years, with bachelor's degrees in the Plan II honors program and political communication. He says shorter summer sessions would not be counted as part of the 10 semesters.


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