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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Everyone passes -- or else!

Universities will have to push failing students above the 50 percent mark or pay hefty fines under legislation proposed by the Australian government, writes Steven Schwartz, who's served as a university vice chancellor in Australia and London.

Over the past 20 years, responding to Australia's "college for all" policies, less-prestigious universities lowered admissions standards, he writes. Dropout rates soared.

To eliminate failure, the government will mandate that "university students who score less than 50 percent in their exams will be entitled to a slew of educational life-savers," such as "university-funded tutoring, counseling, examination do-overs, special exams, and extended deadlines."

Universities will be fined $18,780 per failing student.

Universities could raise admissions standards -- or lower academic standards for admitted students.

Students will "get a degree just for showing up," predicts Schwartz. Or, perhaps not showing up. All those failure-is-not-an-option graduates will discover that their degrees are meaningless.

Ten less-prestigious state universities in Michigan will guarantee admission to students with a 3.0 (B) average. Test scores will not be required as a check against grade inflation.

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