California State University System Gives ‘Super Seniors’ a Nudge

Hoping to get students through college, California issues a plea to those who have been there longest.

By SHARE

You know the type—the kid who has transferred four times and switched majors twice or the bald guy who looks like he's 35 but hasn't missed a basketball game in years. They're called "super seniors" for a reason. "Senior" implies that a college (or high school) student is in his or her fourth year of education. Throw "super" in front, and there's no telling how long that student has been at the institution or when they plan to finish college. Call it an open-ended commitment. 

Well, enough is enough, says the California State University system. CSU officials want to reduce statewide enrollment by 40,000 because of the gigantic budget cuts their system is about to make, and to help the reduction go quickly, they want super seniors to get going, the Sacramento Bee reports

"What we're really trying to do is say, 'Have a goal and get there,' " Jo Volkert, an associate vice president at San Francisco State University, tells the Bee. " 'We will help you get there.' " 

Super seniors stay at school for a bunch of reasons, from changing majors or interests to simply taking the scenic route to graduation. But it costs time and money, neither of which California's colleges have. The report says that the state of California pays $7,000 a year for each full-time student enrolled. And only about 36 percent of CSU students graduate in four years, according to the Bee

Budget cuts mean the state system has to focus on super seniors and create "incentives for campuses to do a better job of advising and monitoring students' progress, making sure they're on track," Judy Heiman of the state Legislative Analyst's Office tells the Bee

  • Searching for a college? Get our complete rankings of America's Best Colleges.