Letter to the editor: Dean clarifies Four-Year Graduation Guarantee

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Pacific hopes that the newly announced Four- Year Graduation Guarantee will help prospective students and their parents appreciate the commitment Pacific makes to enabling students to complete their degrees in four years.

Unfortunately, a lot of misunderstanding has arisen as to exactly what this new guarantee does and doesn’t guarantee.

Some of that confusion surfaced in both the article in last week’s issue and the editorial on the same subject. I hope to provide clarity in this response and will see to it that the website is clarified in the same way.

First, I need to correct a misstatement in last week’s article regarding Pacific’s four-year graduation rate.

The official four-year graduation rate measures the percentage of students who matriculate in a given year as freshmen, stay at Pacific and then graduate in

four years.
The figure I provided was not the four-year

graduation rate (of all incoming freshmen) but rather the percentage of graduates who graduated within four years.

So, 90 percent of the incoming class of 2009 who stayed at Pacific and graduated within six years actually graduated within four years. Hence, the vast majority of freshmen who stay at Pacific do graduate within four years.

Most who take longer than four years do so out of choice or personal circumstances that Pacific cannot control.

Hence, Pacific can’t in fact guarantee that any particular student will graduate in four years. What Pacific intends to guarantee is that we will offer all required classes such that incoming freshmen choosing a four-year path can expect to complete the degree in four years.

In the unusual case that Pacific failed to offer a required course in a timely manner, Pacific promises to authorize a substitute course, waive the requirement or, as a last resort (since timely graduation is the key

goal), allow the student to take the required course tuition free the next time it is offered (Note that the editorial in last week’s paper was thus significantly mistaken in stating that Pacific promises to pay one year of tuition for any student who does not graduate in four years).

The new guarantee does not come with any special privileges such as early course registration. This is because Pacific remains committed to helping all students graduate on time, including new freshmen, continuing students or transfer students.

The main advantage students who sign the agreement will have, is being reminded to consider from the very beginning that graduating on time requires thoughtful planning.

In short, in practice Pacific already stands by the spirit of this “new” guarantee for all of its students: faculty and staff alike make every effort to help all students get the classes they need and complete their degrees on time.

We are so committed to that basic goal that we think it is worth celebrating and publicizing with this new more explicit guarantee.


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