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Temple Partnership Pushes Students to Graduate on Time

Photo credit: iStock/Neustockimages

Photo credit: iStock/Neustockimages

The tradeoff is represented in no uncertain terms.

One new, mid-sized SUV. Forty-four smartphones. Fourteen roundtrip tickets to Dubai. Fifty-seven laptops. Seventy-four video-game consoles. Twenty-six biweekly paychecks.

And above that, a title representing the common thread: “One extra year of tuition equals …”

That’s the blunt messaging Temple University has employed in recent years as a part of a concerted effort to curb student debt and get undergraduate students into their caps and gowns in four years—namely through its innovative Fly in 4 program.

Blending awareness with action, Fly in 4 helps steer participating students to graduation by laying out specific requirements, such as meeting with an academic advisor each semester and taking 30 credits per year. There’s an incentive, too: Temple agrees to foot the bill for additional courses if students who meet all the requirements still can’t graduate in four years.

The first cohort of students to graduate with help from the program—a handful of whom transferred to Temple and qualified for the partnership as it launched in 2014—will do so in May.

“My goal was to graduate in four years,” noted participant Meghan Flack, a senior psychology major who arrived at Temple after earning her associate’s degree from Burlington County College (now a part of Rowan College) in New Jersey. “It seemed like with this program, Temple was intent on me graduating in four years, so it was important for the advisors to make sure we met our goals every semester.”

It’s a particularly noteworthy effort at a time when most college students don’t graduate in four years, according to a 2014 report by the nonprofit group Complete College America.

The Fly in 4 program stems from Temple President Neil D. Theobald’s emphasis on tackling student debt, a multi-pronged approach that also includes teaching students financial literacy and offering valuable resources.

A part-time customer service employee at PSEG (Public Service Enterprise Group) and an intern in Temple’s Tuttleman Counseling Services, Flack said it was crucial she made sound course choices in order to fulfill credit requirements. “Meeting with an advisor verified I was taking all the right courses and I had the prerequisites,” added Flack, who plans to pursue graduate school.

In addition to the resources provided in the Fly in 4 partnership, Temple also offers need-based Fly in 4 grants, which help offset the hours many students spend working outside jobs to pay for college tuition. The university awards the $4,000 grants to 500 eligible students per class, allowing students to dedicate more time to coursework.

Learn more about Fly in Four.