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SUNY tries out "finish in four" program

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Finishing college in four years is becoming less common. Now, SUNY Buffalo is piloting a new State University of New York program that guarantees students will finish in the traditional time frame, or the school picks up the cost of remaining tuition. The Innovation Trail's Daniel Robison explains.

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Freshman this fall can sign an agreement where they promise to register on time and work closely with their academic advisors to stay on schedule for graduation. UB promises to track their activity so at the end of four years, if the student is not ready to don a cap and gown, blame can be assigned to the school or the student.

Hanging in the balance will be free tuition for any remaining classes. Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Scott Weber says the hope is fewer students stay longer. And he says, the school isn’t worried about that resulting in a hit to revenue.

"That makes us more efficient. And it means we should be able to handle more students as part of our profile and entering classes."

UB is a guinea pig of sorts for SUNY, testing the program in advance of SUNY adopting similar measures to improve graduating times for students.

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