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UT proposed five-year limit unfair

Sept. 16, 2003

Staff editorial

Some students are notorious for being professional college students. They take light course loads, change majors often, throw in a semester studying abroad or take some personal time off of school. Others work full-time and attend school part-time, often finishing their bachelor's degrees in five or six years, instead of the traditional four.

A committee set up by The University of Texas system is recommending cutting off such professional students by a recent proposal that would require UT undergraduates to complete their degrees in five years or fewer.

The university, plagued by the demand for space in its classes, set up the Enrollment Strategy Task Force to help improve the student-to-faculty ratio and undergraduate graduation rates.

The Daily Texan reports committee chairwoman Isabella Cunningham feels 'increased attention on undergraduate progress' will help free up space for incoming freshmen.

The Lariat believes this proposal is not the best or fairest answer to the university's enrollment problems.

What happens to the student who falls ill, missing a semester of classes? What about the student who only is able to transfer few credit hours from another university, virtually starting from scratch? And there is the student who also plays the role of parent, taking night classes and part-time course loads, fitting in his or her schooling whenever the best opportunity arises.

For the nontraditional student, where other circumstances prohibit him or her from taking full course loads, restrictions such as those being considered by UT are unfair. If students wish to continue taking classes and can provide the tuition fees for these classes, let them continue receiving their education.