Students must use school resources to raise rates

Though many USF students face adversity while working towards their college degrees, a recent statistic has brought to light just how costly poor prioritizing can be.

According to a report released this year by Forbes magazine, only 48 percent of USF students graduate within six years. In addition, only 21 percent of students graduate in four years. This could mean that less than half of the students enrolled at USF will complete their bachelor’s degree at all.

According to the St. Petersburg Times, the average national six-year graduation rate is 55 percent, while other local state universities such as UF, FSU and UCF have six-year graduation rates of 82 percent, 70 percent and 63 percent, respectively. Yet, students shouldn’t resign their futures to this statistic.

According to the Times, students at USF work more hours than most students at other major colleges or universities. Yet, as students spend more of their time and energy in the work force, they often spend less time on academics – a decision that may keep them in their entry-level jobs.

There are many resources around campus designed to set students up for success, often for free. If more students would take advantage of the resources available through the Library, they could help improve USF’s reputation.

The past few semesters have seen a significant increase in Library hours. As recent as spring 2009, the Library was only open until midnight, Monday through Wednesday, with even fewer hours Thursday through Sunday.

Currently, the Library is open from Sunday at noon to Friday at 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., providing a studious refuge for students after a day at work or class. The Library also provides tutoring services and writing workshops – perfect for students whose schedules may not permit lengthy discussions with professors during their office hours.

The first two floors of the Library also house tutoring and writing centers, with a staff readily available to help students with their homework and other course materials throughout the semester. These services are available by appointment only, have long operating hours during the day to accommodate busy schedules and are provided to registered students free of charge.

The current USF graduation rate is alarming, but it should serve as a reminder of how important it is to achieve a college degree. The U.S Department of Labor reports that adults who only have a high school diploma will earn about $20,000 less per year when compared to adults who have a bachelor’s degree. During these tough economic times, students should be mindful of the importance of a college degree when problems arise that could stop them from finishing.

Jason Funes is a senior majoring in biomedical sciences and biology.