Graduation Guarantee Still Good News at St. Norbert

St Norbert’s four-year graduation guarantee has long set it apart and, now that many other schools are making similar promises, the college has established its reputation for helping students progress through degree programs in a timely manner. 

In fact, St. Norbert currently has the best four-year graduation rate in the state, and 12 percent of students finish in three-and-a-half years or less.

“The guarantee has been in place for a long time, before it started to be the trend,” says Bridget Krage O’Connor ’93 (Enrollment Management and Communications). 

Studies show that the average college freshman takes more than five-and-a-half years to earn their diploma, but according to O’Connor, the goal at St. Norbert has always been to get students in and out in four years or less. By doing so, the college is keeping tuition costs to four years – not five or six – and moving students into the workforce more quickly. 

The college has set a cap on enrollment to allow for small class sizes and easy access to required courses, and faculty advisers assist with course planning. 

For Maira Rodriguez ’14, the guarantee has made all the difference. She says “St. Norbert's four-year guarantee to graduate has allowed me to be a double major, and have the opportunity to have an affordable study-abroad experience.”

Devan Lenz ’14 says, “Being an education major, the four-year guarantee made all the difference in the world! Nearly every other college or university requires students to complete four years of studies, and then an additional half a year to a year of student teaching; St. Norbert has been proven to provide an even higher-quality educational experience through our SNC courses in addition to countless field experiences in area schools, AND they fit our student teaching into our four years here. There is no better arrangement for a student aspiring to be a teacher! It saves money, and allows us to move onto our passion of teaching all the sooner, while still ensuring we are prepared.”

The St. Norbert guarantee differs from most other programs in that students are not required to declare their major until their fourth semester. In addition, the college steps in when students cannot finish in four years due to circumstances outside of their control.

O’Connor explains, “If a student has followed the recommendations of taking those courses and has worked through, and has still been unable to pick up a class that they’re required to, due to circumstances beyond their control, we’ll pick up the tuition for them to ensure they can finish without an additional tuition expense.” She encourages students to refer to the college catalog for details of the guarantee, which are outlined on pages 256-7.

Check out coverage of this issue from northeast Wisconsin television station WFRV.

April 2, 2013