STUDENT SUCCESS INITIATIVE: Message on Finish in Four

Dear UIC Academic Advisors, Support Unit Advisors and Transition Coaches,

I am pleased to introduce you to the forthcoming “Finish in Four” campaign that will have an impact on the incoming freshman class.  As you are probably aware, an important project of the Student Success Initiative is “Streamlining the First year: Credit Accumulation Initiative,” the details of which can be found at studentsuccess.uic.edu . This campaign will encourage students to graduate on time—to “Finish in Four.”

While every major has a published four-year plan, a great number of UIC students complete their first semester with little chance of graduating in four years.  I am asking for your cooperation in ensuring that our new students understand the advantages of registering for a full 15 hour course load and the implications for not doing so.

As a first step, students will be receiving a flyer in their Orientation packets reinforcing the point that UIC expects them to graduate in four years, and there are significant benefits to doing so:

  • Students who earn an average of fifteen or more credit hours per semester in their first year are more likely to persist and graduate in four years.
  • Because UIC tuition is guaranteed for four years, students will benefit financially should tuition increase by their fifth or sixth year.
  • Considering tuition, living expenses, and lost wages, each extra year in college costs students around $70,000.

Certainly there will be circumstances that may suggest that a full 15-hour course load is not practical for some students, and I understand those reasons. You should know that a relatively small number of our students must work full-time, while others may have significant family commitments or health issues that should be taken into account. For most students, however,  an approximate 15-hour load, even while working part-time, is quite doable and is a standard at most universities with high graduation rates.  I encourage you to have a frank conversation with your students who believe that a light load, especially in their first semester, is to their advantage.  With the preponderance of data indicating that students who take a lighter load don’t do any better than students who take a full load in terms of GPA, we are obligated to provide evidence-based guidance.

I am confident that every student at UIC comes to us equipped to succeed. We will keep you informed as we assess the outcomes of this initiative.

I invite you to view the flyer, visit finishinfour.uic.edu, and forward any questions or concerns to finishinfour@uic.edu, or to me directly.

I appreciate your support of our students.

Sincerely,

Emanuel D. Pollack

Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs (interim)