Graduate in Four Task Force

Timely graduation is a key component of student success. In spring of 2005, a task force was assembled to explore why KU's undergraduate graduation rates were lower than those at similar institutions.

Below is a summary of the key findings from the work of the Graduate in Four (GIF) task force, including background information, guiding principles, specific recommendations, and resulting actions. For additional details, a link to the complete report is provided below. A link is also available for slides from a presentation at the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) on the GIF Task Force findings.


GIF Recommendations Follow-up

In 2010, the GIF Task Force recommendations were evaluated to determine what policies, procedures or practice had been put in place because of the GIF recommendations. The GIF recommendations, the corresponding outcomes, and the relationship to the recommendations of the Retention and Graduation Task Force listed below:



Summary of GIF Task Force Findings and Recommendations

Barriers identified as potentially lowering undergraduate graduation rates

  • Cultural context includes inconsistent messages about the importance of timely graduation and the costs of additional semesters.
  • Some typical student behaviors are counterproductive, such as enrolling in fewer than 15 credit hours each semester.
  • Specific courses consistently have lower successful completion rates, particularly remedial math.
  • Some institutional practices and policies enable delays in time to graduation.


Guiding principles and associated recommendations developed to address barriers

  • Principle 1: KU expects and encourages timely graduation. Practices need to reinforce this principle.
    • Reinforce a minimum enrollment of 15 credit hours each semester for full-time undergraduates.
    • Establish guidelines for students to declare majors by 60 hours.
  • Principle 2: Policies and practices should encourage timely graduation.
    • Develop standardized institutional policies for drops and withdrawals.
    • Limit the number of repeat applications to professional schools.
  • Principle 3: Communicate a consistent message that graduation in four years is desirable and attainable.
    • Align advising philosophy and practices with graduation goals.
      • Support timely graduation goals through university publications, presentations, and other communications.


Resulting accomplishments and actions based on recommendations

  • The average course load for first-time, full-time students increased between Spring 2005 and Spring 2006.
  • Conversations with advisors and other front-line staff about importance of timely graduation are ongoing.
  • A task force was formed in Spring 2006 to examine higher admissions standards.
  • Newly admitted students with math ACT score below threshold are strongly advised to take remedial math prior to enrolling at KU
  • Changes to tighten drop/withdrawal policies were approved by University Governance for Fall 2006.