I begin with a question that may not be on the minds of many at the time of reading this article. In the midst of all the confusion Wittenberg has found itself in during this fall semester, I find these words resonating in my mind: “Is Wittenberg a 4-Year College?”
As I look around Wittenberg these days and talk to students about their plans after graduating, many respond that they’re not expecting to graduate in the expected four-year time table. Some say they are expecting to walk that stage due to hard work and perseverance in less time or with the same amount of effort put into making the four-year graduation cut students say they’re expecting to step on the seal outside of Myers Hall a little after the four expected years.
According to the website CollegeBoard.com, 69 percent of students graduate from this university in six years. Recently, the university issued a statement on this issue via press release, saying, “BestValueSchools.com recently researched Ohio schools and ranked them based on four key points: graduation rate (weighted 30 percent), net price (25 percent), acceptance rate (30 percent) and the 20-year net return on investment (15 percent). Wittenberg earned 117.85 points out of 200.”
The statement further read, “Wittenberg scored high marks for its four-year graduation guarantee and the ‘Wittenberg Commitment,’ a four-year plan that guides students through first-year seminars, personalized advising, active learning opportunities and the “Wittfolio” that summarizes students’ progress and helps them build a résumé. Nearly 70 percent of students graduate on time at Wittenberg.”
With that statement in mind, it leaves me to wonder if the university truly has a whole-hearted commitment to graduate every student in four years if they’re reporting that only a little over a third of the students get across the stage in that time period.
For 2016, Wittenberg has been ranked among the best colleges of national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report, as number 148 out of 174. The same organization also reports that Wittenberg’s six-year graduation rate is only 69 percent. Forbes.com ranks Wittenberg 214 out all the colleges they rank; among the private institutions for higher education that are ranked on the list, Witt comes in at 159.
In May of this year, The National Center for Education Statics updated their website reporting, “about 59 percent of students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree at a 4-year institution in fall 2007 completed that degree within 6 years. The graduation rate for females (62 percent) was higher than the rate for males (56 percent).”
With all of this information in mind that is being reported about Wittenberg’s graduation rate, you have to wonder not if graduating from Witt in four years possible, but if graduating from any college in less than six years is even possible.
So, I guess I should rephrase my earlier question posed about graduating in four years from “Is Wittenberg a four-year college?,” to “Is it possible to graduate from any college in four years?”
I believe Chretien Malesherbes would answer that question by saying: “We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible.”