San Jose State is pushing “super seniors” — credit-rich students who’ve taken classes for more than six years — to finish a degree and go away, making room for new students. About 1,500 students have been seniors for three or more years; 35 have been enrolled for a decade or more. “Two particularly scholarly souls have studied for 15 years, each earning about 360 units toward a bachelor’s degree — enough to have graduated three times over,” reports the San Jose Mercury News.
For the first time in its history, this spring SJSU turned away 4,400 qualified students from its incoming freshman class because it could not afford to properly educate all qualified students who applied. Meanwhile, the number of seniors keeps climbing from 8,333 in 2005 to 9,757 in 2009.
Students who have 20 percent more units than are required for graduation — 300 seniors fall in that category — will be advised to finish quickly, though there are no consequences for those who choose to stay on.
“With the economy in shambles, I figure it is better to stay in school,” said Zachary Pallin, 22, a fifth-year senior who will graduate in 2010 — after six years at SJSU. First an English major, then a philosophy major, he has since settled on political science, with a minor in environmental science. He hopes to find work in the government or with a nonprofit organization. “I can focus on learning, while the economy gets better. Then I can actually get a job.”
“Finish In Four.” -East Bay now cuts off aid for super-seniors after two extra years. Cal State-Fullerton offers better advising and priority registration to students who pledge to
In North Carolina, students with more than 140 credits pay a tuition surcharge.
The is considering the ultimate insult: revoking long-term seniors’ perks such as priority parking and sports seating — sending them back to lowly freshman status.
Too many students are dithering on the taxpayers’ dime. A tuition surcharge for extra units and back-of-the-line status to get into classes would motivate students to get serious before they become sixth- or seventh-year seniors.