The standard four-year college degree seems increasingly to be stretching into five or six.A rising number of college students are graduating in more than four years, according to a recent national study conducted by the National Center for Education.The study, which polled one million students at several colleges and universities, found that only 33.1 percent of students who started college full time in the fall of 1996 graduated in four years.Among the students who did not graduate in four years, 16.5 percent took five years to earn a bachelor’s degree and 5.1 percent took six. The remaining students either took more than six years or didn’t graduate at all.The number of students graduating in four years has decreased nationwide over the past 20 years.Aside from UR’s unique Take Five program, which allows students to stay for an additional tuition-free semester or year in order to pursue interests outside of their major, students choose to return for extra semesters for a variety of reasons.Statistics were not available for UR, but University Registrar Nancy Speck explained why some students return after their fourth year. “Students can take a fifth year of study to complete a second major or a second degree,” she said.Other factors, such as switching majors, could also necessitate further years of study. “Some students will have academic issues that require them to return for additional study,” Speck said.Speck believes that longer graduation times for some students are not based on academic problems. “It is not our experience that students are closed out of courses they need to graduate,” she said. “Returning for extra semesters can result from having stopped out for a term or two during their academic career for medical, work or other reasons.”Brian Guse entered with the Class of 2004, but will not be graduating until next year. “I took the Fall 2002 semester off to work as an intern for IBM so graduation was going to be delayed at least a semester,” he said. “I also needed to take some classes that are only offered in the spring so I’ve decided to stay and graduate in 2005.”According to Speck, the implementation of the Rochester Curriculum, beginning with the Class of 2000, brought an increase in completion rates. The program, which provides increased academic freedom based on students’ interests, is unique to UR.The UR is currently working on a survey of the Class of 2004 that will study graduation rates. “We are currently in the middle of a study of the Class of 2004 about completion of degree requirements,” she said. “This may provide us with more insight.”Taylor can be reached at

UR Softball continues dominance with sweeps of Alfred University and Ithaca College

The Yellowjackets swept Alfred University on the road Thursday, winning both games by a score of 5–4.

Gaza solidarity encampment: Live updates

The Campus Times is live tracking the Gaza solidarity encampment on Wilson Quad and the administrative response to it. Read our updates here.

An open letter to all members of any university community

I strongly oppose the proposed divestment resolution. This resolution is nothing more than another ugly manifestation of antisemitism at the University.