CU Boulder No Longer a '4-Year College'

CU Students Face Dilapidated and Deteriorating Conditions
Trying to Graduate in 4 Years

Less than 50% of incoming freshmen graduate in 4 years

CU Boulder, now a 7- or 8-year college, has no clue and no plan
about how to address this major problem for students

CU Boulder has a fundamental problem: very low graduation rates.

CU Boulder is no longer a '4-year college.' It is now rather a 7- or 8-year college.

Less than 50% of incoming freshmen graduate in 4 years.

CU administrators apparently have no plan to address this problem.

CU 4-Year Graduation Rates

Source: University of Colorado System Office, Office of Institutional Research

For some time, there was a web page on the Chancellor's web site titled "Student Success" which discussed the problem of low graduation rates at CU Boulder and how the University planned to address that problem (as explained below, this page has now been removed from the Chancellor's web site, but a pdf rendering of the removed web page is here).

The web page explained that CU's goal was to achieve an "80% [six-year] graduation rate by 2020," a goal frequently articulated by the Chancellor in campus speeches. Note that the target term of the graduation goal was six years, not four years, and the target rate of 80% sets a fairly low bar for a major measure of campus achievement.

The page continued to explain that according to "national and local research" there are three major reasons among students for low graduation rates:

- College doesn't care about me (as a person)
- Poor service and treatment (Overlaps 1st)
- Not worth it (compared to a job)
The page went on to state "I [the chancellor] believe we can improve [graduation rates] through cultural change", i.e., by implementing programs on campus to address the three issues above with students.

These programs implementing cultural change would include revising the New Student Welcome Program, establishing a Student Success Team and implementing new advising software.

The Chancellor's office was asked to provide citations to the "national and local research" supporting the three major reasons referred to on the web page, and thus the campus's policy for addressing those low graduation rates.

The Chancellor's office was not able to provide any such citations.

The Student Success web page was then quickly removed from the Chancellor's web site.

The Chancellor's office explained that the page was "out of date."

When the Chancellor's office was subsequently asked to provide current information regarding the University's approach to addressing the extraordinarily low graduation rate at CU Boulder, the Chancellor's office replied

"As it is likely that records on this subject are likely to be housed in several offices across the campus (at the Administrative level, at the school/college level, and at the departmental level), significant time and costs are likely to be involved in locating, compiling and reviewing records. If you can identify specific offices/schools/colleges/departments of particular interest to you, we're hopeful that will significantly speed up the response time and reduce costs."
Translated into plain language, that reply, along with failure to be able to provide any citations to the graduation research, and the abrupt removal of the "Student Success" web page, says 'We have no clue, and no plan, about how to address the issue of very low graduation rates at CU Boulder.'

So while many programs on campus are the recipients of much attention and resources (the commercialization project, the Center for Western Civilization, the Brand Platform, the football program, the proposed new hotel adjacent to campus), the Boulder campus apparently can't find the time or resources to address one of our students' most personal and important questions: 'Why can't I get my degree in a reasonable amount of time?'