By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Bee Finished in Four Years is a new plan that St. Ambrose University will offer incoming students this fall. The plan provides support for students to complete their bachelor’s degree in four years and even in less time, with proper planning on both sides.
During a press conference March 23, Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, said one purpose of the program is to reverse the downward trend in the degree attainment rate in the U.S. while helping students complete their degrees in a timely manner. The St. Ambrose president said students then enter the workforce and begin enjoying the economic advantages a college degree affords them.
“By providing access to college — and strong support for degree completion — higher education is contributing to stronger communities, a robust economy and a greater quality of life,” Sr. Lescinski said.
John Cooper, vice president for enrollment management, said statistics show that students often do not complete a degree in four years for several reasons: they lack access to required courses, lose credits during school transfer, have course sequences that are not working or take too few credits per semester.
At St. Ambrose, 95 percent of the class that entered in 2008 and remained at the university all four years graduated in four years. That figure excludes students who changed majors.
“The Bee Finished in Four Years plan was created to demonstrate our commitment to helping all St. Ambrose students finish in four years — or less in some cases,” Cooper said. “This opportunity allows all of our students to realize the financial savings of not having to pay additional tuition, fees and room and board as well as the benefit of being able to begin earning a professional salary after four or less years of schooling.”
Key players in the plan include faculty, staff and “most importantly, students,” Cooper said. It begins at freshman orientation and calls for registering on time, completing a minimum number of credit hours per year, choosing a major in a timely manner and working closely with academic advisors. “If a student follows the terms of the agreement, and is still unable to graduate in four years solely due to the unavailability of a required course or courses, St. Ambrose will waive the tuition and fees for that additional coursework.”
St. Ambrose senior Elijah Grant said St. Ambrose has prepared him to be a positive influence within the community and has enabled him to e a successful business person.
Although the plan starts after he graduates, he sees it as a safeguard that will be of value to St. Ambrose students and families. “St. Ambrose is continually taking steps to empower their students to live a more fulfilled life.”
A business management and marketing major, Grant was able to complete his dual degree in four years, completed five internships and was a resident assistant. “It is possible to do so through the university’s support and a little hard work on my part.”