Indiana University has started a new office aimed at helping more students graduate on time at all the school's campuses across the state.
The Office of Completion and Student Success that started this month aims to have more IU students earn bachelor's degrees within four years.
While the push is for students to graduate in four years, a six-year option is included because some students also are working 30 or 40 hours a week or have family obligations, office director Rebecca Torstrick told The Herald-Times.
A major element of the initiative are required degree maps. The online mapping tool allows students to see what classes they need to graduate.
It will be used on all eight IU campuses so students can adjust the map if they transfer to another campus or take a summer class at a campus near home, Torstrick said.
"The degree maps are just an academic road map," she said.
A state Commission for Higher Education report this year found that about 50 percent of students at IU's Bloomington campus were graduating on time, while the regional campuses were at 10 percent or less.
Purdue University's West Lafayette campus was at 38 percent, with Ball State University at 33 percent and Indiana State at 21 percent.
Completion rates factor into state higher education performance-based funding, which is recommended by the commission. A higher on-time completion rate means more state money for the university.
Torstrick said that previously students with multiple majors and minors worked with advisers in different departments who only focused on the courses of study in their departments.
Now, those advisers are in communication with each other and the students, she said. That allows for students to easily see where they can double-count classes, and helps keep them from taking classes they don't need.
"All of this is geared toward supporting and improving the most meaningful component of the adviser-student relationship, that is, one-on-one meetings," Torstrick said.