Students see graduation delayed

Widespread cuts across Fresno State have adversely affected some students’ abilities to graduate in a timely manner

Significant class cuts have caused problems for some students who originally planned on graduating with a college degree in four years.

Less money, fewer teachers and fewer courses are delaying the graduation process for some students.

“It’s really frustrating to be stuck in a system that doesn’t leave me with very many options,” kinesiology major Kasey Van Grouw said.

Van Grouw was originally a biology major, but with several of her classes cut from the 2009-10 scholastic schedule, she had to change her major to stay on track for a four-year-graduation plan.

“It was really difficult planning my schedule when all the classes got cut,” Van Grouw said. “The kinesiology department only offers certain classes every other semester, so if I don’t get the classes I need for next fall, I will have to wait a whole year to try and get those classes again.”

According to the College Board, entry into classes is based on registration times. While upperclassmen fill the available spots, some freshmen and sophomores could be left out in the cold. Some courses are prerequisites that must be completed before students can take more-advanced classes in their major.

“After planning out my course schedule in fall 2008 and realizing that the prerequisites I needed were not offered until spring and fall 2009, I discovered that I was going to have to change my graduation plan,” dietetics major Hannah Deeter said.

Deeter enrolled in fall of 2007 as a dietetics major and had a plan to graduate in spring of 2011. Her graduation plans have since been postponed an additional year. Now she will not be graduating until spring of 2012, if she can get into all the classes she needs.

Fresno State used its one-time $2.9 million federal stimulus money in February to restore some classes in the fall 2010 semester.

But, with fewer classes offered, students like Deeter, who declared majors their freshman year, have to stay one semester to a year longer on average. In turn, they end up paying more tuition than originally planned.

“For my next four semesters, I will not even have enough major classes to fill my 12-unit, full-time student requirement,” Deeter said. “I will have to take random elective classes I do not need to graduate to stay a full-time student, which I need [in order] to stay on my parents’ health insurance.”

Emily Hitchcock, a health science major, recently switched from a dietetics major when she found out she was going to have to stay a year longer.

“I had to take two required classes for fall 2010, but both of those courses were only offered once, and in the same time slot,” Hitchcock said.

She wants to graduate in four years because she is not staying in Fresno and wants to start her career.

“I would have been graduating a year late and Fresno State only has a 50 percent dietetics intern rate,” Hitchcock said. “So, I was not going to stay a year later to have only a 50 percent chance.”

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