local | Education

PSU Announces Four-Year Guarantee Plan

OPB | Oct. 30, 2013 8:12 a.m. | Updated: Oct. 30, 2013 9:17 a.m. | Portland

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Portland State University is guaranteeing next year’s freshmen a bachelor’s degree in four years. Officials announced a plan Tuesday that’s aimed at college affordability.

PSU says it takes students an average of more than five years to complete their degrees. PSU wants to rein in growing student loan debt, by guaranteeing four-year degrees, for freshmen who pick their majors right away, and earn 45 credits a year.

High school senior Aysia King

High school senior Aysia King

Rob Manning / OPB

High school senior Aysia King says that sounds good to her.

King said, “If you don’t decide as soon as you can, then you won’t end up graduating within those four years, so I feel like that’s pretty helpful for me.”

The guarantee obligates PSU to cover the cost if students are unable to enroll in a required class.

Officials say about a quarter of PSU’s freshmen begin as undecided majors — so they wouldn’t be eligible for the guarantee. Nearly half of PSU students change their major midway. Provost Sona Andrews says their fate would depend on their individual circumstance.

The initiative begins with next fall’s freshmen. It’s not open to transfers.

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