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Posted at 5:35 PM ET, 02/22/2011

Randolph-Macon offers 'degree guarantee'

By Daniel de Vise

Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., today announced a Four-Year Degree Guarantee: Students who follow a few institutional policies are promised a degree in four years, or else the college will waive tuition until the student has finished.

With the guarantee, the liberal arts school effectively puts its money behind its reputation for producing timely college degrees. Already, 95 percent of Randolph-Macon graduates complete their degrees in four years.

The pledge speaks to a broader effort among private colleges to emphasize value, especially at a time when many parents are balking at college costs. Tuition, fees and living expenses at Randolph-Macon total about $40,000, which puts them nowhere near the top of the list in college sticker price, although it's significantly higher than comparable in-state prices at the University of Virginia or College of William and Mary.

The guarantee will apply to any full-time student who follows the rules, as stated in the Randolph-Macon catalogue at the time of their enrollment. They include meeting all academic requirements on course load, GPA and declaring a major, meeting regularly with one's adviser, registering for courses on time, paying tuition on time and staying out of disciplinary trouble.

"The very nature of a Randolph-Macon College education allows us to make this four-year commitment with confidence," said Robert Lindgren, the president, in a statement. "This program underscores the value and benefits of the liberal arts education we provide."

The guarantee is somewhat reminiscent of a pledge by Albion College, a liberal arts school in hard-hit Michigan, that every graduate will be gainfully employed.

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By Daniel de Vise  | February 22, 2011; 5:35 PM ET
Categories:  Attainment, Finance, Liberal Arts, Privates  | Tags:  Degree Guarantee Program Randolph Macon, RMC degree guarantee, Randolph-Macon College degree guarantee, Virginia college guarantees degree, college guarantees four-year graduation  
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Kudos to Randolph-Macon. More VA schools should make that pledge, including the public schools. My child will no longer be held hostage by Virginia Tech and complete her undergrad studies after 11 semesters this December. She did not switch majors, passed all classes, made the dean's list and took full course loads (15-18 credits) each fall and spring. Why 11 semesters, because the required courses for her major were impossible to get into as a Jr. and Sr. Her faculty advisor told her in fall of Jr. year "tell your parents you may need an extra semester before graduating." We love VT (GO HOKIES!), but there clearly aren't enough professors for the required classes. The state schools appear to plan for students not to graduate on time. Lucky for us the tuition isn't $40k per year.

Posted by: couper | February 23, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

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