Student Academic Success-Degree Completion Policy
Frequently Asked Questions
should there be a policy on timely and satisfactory progress to degree?
2. Will a student automatically be removed from
the University if he/she reaches the 10 semesters or 130-credit limit?
serious a problem is it?
will this policy affect students’ ability to choose or change majors?
impact will this policy have on students who complete double degrees and double
this policy impact part time students?
academic advising services will be provided to students who face the possibility
of having to leave their major?
students be permitted to appeal decisions made under this policy?
9. How will the satisfactory progress review be conducted?
10. How will transfer students be affected?
11. Does this policy transform all majors into defacto Limited
will create/review the satisfactory progress criteria for academic units? How
will this be overseen?
the proposed policy affect timely graduation rates?
14. What will be the impact of this policy on advising
1. Why should there be a policy on timely and satisfactory
progress to degree?
In fall 2003, Dr. Mote charged a task force with examining academic policy barriers
to successful and timely degree completion and asked them to propose a policy
to improve student success and graduation rates. The result is the Student Academic
Success-Degree Completion Policy. This policy provides students with a structured
framework, initiatives to support student success and appropriate criteria to
guide the students in this pursuit. Students are expected to complete their
undergraduate degrees within 10 semesters or 130 credits.
This policy builds on a series of past initiatives that have aimed at improving
graduation rates, levels of student success, advising and retention. The implementation
of a satisfactory progress review for all majors and of a 10 semester/130 credit
policy will help to ensure that students identify a major in which they can
be successful and complete their bachelor’s degree in a timely fashion.
In the absence of such a policy, which is the current situation, students are
able to remain too long in majors where they are neither succeeding nor progressing.
a student automatically be removed from the University if he/she reaches the
10 semesters or 130-credit limit?
No. Since ongoing academic planning is an overarching feature of the Student
Academic Success-Degree Completion policy, the number of students requiring
overrides of the 10-semester/130-credit limit should diminish over time. However,
students who reach the 10 semesters or 130-credit limit may continue enrollment
with the approval of the dean of their college. Approval for continued enrollment
will require that the student submit a specific, reasonable plan and a timeline
for completion of degree requirements.
serious a problem is it?
Data indicate that approximately five percent (5%) of the undergraduate student
body is in a major where they are not making appropriate graduation progress
or are unsatisfied with their choice of major. These students are at a high
risk of leaving the University without completing a degree.
4. How will this policy affect students’
ability to choose or change majors?
Currently, the academic unit to which a student will transfer must approve major
changes. There are essentially four categories of students who will change their
majors; the new policy will affect each category differently:
a. This policy will not affect the student changing to another major if the
student has met the new major’s progress criteria. Therefore, current
practices will not change: students will request permission to change majors,
the request will be reviewed and approved by the appropriate unit and college,
and the information will be entered in the Student Information System (SIS).
Students who are meeting the progress criteria in their current majors, but
have not met the progress criteria for the new major, will be required to submit
a multi-semester plan that outlines their procedures to complete the remaining
degree requirements by the 130 credits or 10 semester deadline. This plan must
be approved by the dean of the college in which the new major is located.
All students changing majors must submit a graduation plan. Students interested
in changing majors after having accumulated a large number of credits will prepare
a graduation plan with a timeline for completion that will be submitted to the
dean of the accepting college for approval.
Students who are not meeting the progress benchmarks in their current majors
will be notified and given an opportunity to remedy unsatisfactory progress.
In the event that a student is asked to leave his/her current major, he/she
will be unable to register for subsequent semesters until a new major is selected.
Resources on campus to facilitate major change include the Counseling Center,
the Career Center, Letters and Sciences workshops and individual college workshops.
Letters and Sciences will provide transitional advising services.
5. What impact will this policy have on students
who complete double degrees and double majors?
For the large majority of students, this policy will have no noticeable impact;
most graduates are within the parameters of the policy, including those choosing
to complete multiple majors.
However, some students electing to pursue double degrees may be impacted by
the policy. By definition, students electing to complete a second degree must
complete 150 credits. Students will seek Dean’s approval to continue earning
University of Maryland credits beyond the 130-credit limit.
6. Will this policy impact part time students?
Yes. Colleges may permit students to take reduced course loads to accommodate
individual exceptional circumstances. Approval of a part time student’s
graduation plan will be based on a written agreement that specifies remaining
course work and a timeline for its completion.
7. What academic advising services will be provided
to students who face the possibility of having to leave their major?
Students facing the possibility of having to leave their major will have access
to a number of campus resources to assist them in finding an appropriate major.
The services include: the Career Center, the Counseling Center, major fairs,
Letters and Sciences’ workshops, individual college workshops and the
Degree Navigator audit system. Letters and Sciences will provide transitional
8. Will students be permitted to appeal decisions
made under this policy?
Yes. Students may request reconsideration by the dean of the appropriate college
if they wish to appeal a decision made under this policy.
9. How will the satisfactory progress review
The Registrar will create an audit process for the degree progress criteria
established by each academic unit.
10. How will transfer students be affected?
Transfer student applicants will continue to be admitted to the University
based upon their academic performance, credit level completion of fundamental
studies, and other personal and life circumstances. All students who do not
successfully complete the satisfactory progress review will be asked to choose
another major or seek advising services from Letters and Sciences.
Students transfer to the
University of Maryland at different times. Some wait until they have completed
associate degrees at a Maryland community college, some still need to complete
Fundamental Studies or lower level CORE, and others come from outside the Maryland
system. For certain majors, some students bring credits that are not applicable
to their proposed degree programs. Transfer students will have their transferable
earned credits divided by 15 to determine the number of semesters they have
completed. In consultation with an advisor, students will develop a plan to
graduate. The University will work closely with community colleges to strengthen
the articulation and communication of the newly adopted degree programs requirements.
The Associate Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Studies will initiate and oversee
this process. All four year plans of study will be posted on the University’s
website so that prior to attending the University, students can identify courses
that are transferable.
11. Does this policy transform all majors into defacto
Limited Enrollment Programs?
No. Limited Enrollment Programs (LEP) is based on limited resources
for a specific academic discipline. In order to assure that students will have
the opportunity to complete their degrees in these programs, students are evaluated
at 45 credits (45 credit review) based on a series of gateway courses and a
minimum grade point average.
The purpose of the Student Academic Success-Degree Completion policy is to ensure
that students make timely progress towards their degree. Academic Units will
establish criteria for intervals whereby students must successfully complete
courses. The policy will be put in place to help guide students through successful
completion of their degrees.
12. Who will create/review the satisfactory progress
criteria for academic units? How will this be overseen?Academic units
will complete criteria for timely graduation progress. The Provost will have
final approval on the criteria. If this policy is implemented during fall 2005,
we will be able to determine the number of students who have successfully completed
the preliminary benchmarks and are on track to graduate within the 10-semesters/130-credit
time frame by spring 2007. Four and five year graduation rates should also improve.
A number of other secondary and qualitative indicators will help assess the
effectiveness of this policy. This will include: advising surveys for students,
advisor surveys, average number of credits attempted and the number of courses
repeated, CAWG junior year survey, and focus groups evaluating students’
advising/mentoring experiences. Current baseline qualitative data concerning
student satisfaction, advising, mentoring, and academic planning will be used
for comparison. Thus, students will have feedback as to their success in their
discipline at a time earlier than they currently receive it. This policy will
be monitored at the institutional level, the individual student level, and an
academic unit’s curricular level.
13. Will the proposed policy affect timely graduation
Yes. Over time, this policy should contribute to an improvement in the graduation
rates of the University, particularly the 4-year and 5-year degree completion
rates. Directed at improving academic planning, the Student Academic Success-Degree
Completion policy institutes a formal review of satisfactory progress coupled
with a 10-semester/130-credit requirement for degree completion.
the proposed policy make the University accessible to more students?
Yes. While the University’s overall enrollment goals are expected to remain
constant, if the policy has the effect of improving the 4-year and 5-year graduation
rates, students will move through the institution faster, thereby providing
access to more individuals to attend the University.
will be the impact of this policy on advising staff?
Colleges currently with mandatory advising will not experience a significant
adjustment because of this policy. The Degree Navigator audit system will facilitate
the student’s selection of an appropriate major. The implementation of
this policy will be monitored to assess the impact of the policy on advising