The statistics give literal meaning to the phrase “time is money.”
So while it is welcome news that UNM has increased its six-year graduation rate from 45.5 percent in 2012 to 48.2 percent in 2013, it is important for the university to continue with its reforms geared toward increasing the four-year graduation rate.
Provost Chaouki Abdallah said as much last month, advising that “in order to be able to continue to provide quality higher education for future generations, we need to lower the cost of graduation. If we could match the cost of average U.S. institutions, we would have an additional $60 million available each year.”
That’s $60 million that could be reinvested in faculty, staff, facilities and programs, or used to mitigate cost increases for UNM and its students, while those students would be ready sooner rather than later to put their degrees to work.
UNM has instituted mandatory summer remedial courses, made a 15-hour course load more affordable than a 12-hour load, and is in the process of revamping its College of Education to ensure its training translates into classroom readiness and results.
These reforms, combined with completed and proposed upgrades to the K-12 system to ensure grade-level proficiency and college readiness, should make a four-year bachelor’s degree more common – and thus more affordable – than a six or a never.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.