Starting next fall, incoming freshmen will be able to sign a pledge to "Finish in Four" years; if they meet the pledge's requirements and still can't graduate in four years, they'll finish their degrees free of tuition and comprehensive fee charges.
The plan aims to "provide entering UB freshmen with the academic resources they need to graduate in four years," according to a university press release. It applies to all majors except double majors and majors that include a graduate or advanced component (such as occupational therapy).
Administrators behind Finish in Four also hope the plan will reduce the number of UB students who take longer than four years to graduate.
"We are trying to improve on [that number]," said Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education A. Scott Weber. "I wouldn't say we're unhappy with it…Obviously, we're sensitive to the cost of college…Almost all [of our degrees] can be finished in four years, so that's the traditional time, although nationally, that has been moving toward five and six, and there will be some students who wish to spend longer, and that's fine."
Weber said that though UB will provide additional coursework for free for students who stay on the program's track and still don't graduate in four years, he doesn't think that situation will actually arise.
Weber also said that students who wish to study abroad, take internships, and get involved in other extracurriculars that might limit a semester's credit hours need not worry; the Finish in Four program will still accommodate them.
He acknowledged that those activities are easier to complete in some majors and harder in others, and he added that the summer is also available for studying abroad and the like.
In last week's interview with Spectrum Editor in Chief Matthew Parrino, President Satish K. Tripathi advised students who wish to take full advantage of the program not to change majors multiple times.
"You have to do your part to be on track and not keep changing multiple times, because otherwise you get behind," Tripathi said.
He also stressed the importance of finishing as quickly as possible.
"It's expensive, and they need to get out in four years and do whatever they want to do – whether they want to go to grad school, they want to go to get a job somewhere, or whatever their plans are," Tripathi said.
The university is also planning other improvements for future students. Tripathi talked about cutting down on UB's bureaucracy.
"What we're trying to do…is to create a new ‘heart-of-the-campus' project here…so that the students can get answers to the questions at one place rather than at 20 different places," Tripathi said.