Today, the Board of Regents discussed accelerating time to graduation for students as part of the UW System’s 2020FWD strategic framework.

“Time to graduate is one of the most important factors in college affordability.  If students can graduate in a shorter amount of time, they pay less.  It also avoids missed ‘opportunity costs’ because they are out in the workforce and moving forward in their career,” said Board of Regents President Regina Millner.  “We are laser focused on keeping college affordable for Wisconsin families.”

Last month, the Regents adopted a resolution related to all five components of college affordability:  state funding, financial aid, cost to deliver, tuition, and time to graduate.  UW System is developing and expanding initiatives to help students achieve academic success and graduate more quickly including:

  • Developing an information technology 1+3 program: collaborate with corporate partners in the Fox Valley to increase the talent needed in information technology fields.  The collaboration includes developing a “1+3” program where students complete their first year of college while in high school, as well as utilize internships and other high-impact career-development experiences within the partner companies.  This will help students graduate faster, as well as gain employment with partner companies once they complete their degree.
  • Expanding college credit options in high school: increase the number of college courses through its current College Options program, which gives students an early start on completing their undergraduate degree.  If students can transfer into higher education with more credits, it will reduce their time-to-degree, and ultimately, their costs.
  • Enhancing the ability to transfer college credits: continue working with the Wisconsin Technical College System and UW institutions to make it easier to transfer credits within higher education.  The UW System will also work to minimize credit requirements to reduce the number of undergraduate programs requiring more than 120 credits, while still ensuring students graduate with the accreditations necessary for their career.
  • Responding to the needs of non-traditional students: expand opportunities for adult and non-traditional students to complete a degree through a variety of adult learning programs, including the UW System’s competency-based online UW Flexible Option program.
  • Identifying remedial education needs: improve placement procedures for incoming students and continue working with K-12 institutions to help students better prepare for college by helping to identify what further math development may be needed in the student’s junior or senior year of high school.  This helps reduce the need for remedial classes in college and increase student success.

The 2020FWD strategic framework also emphasizes the use of predicative analytics and 360 Advising to help ensure students take the appropriate classes down the path to timely graduation.