About

The Graduation Commitment

You will complete your degree at Alma on time or we will cover your tuition for an extra term.

How can we promise this? At Alma, we are so confident in the quality of our advising, we will back it up with free tuition for an extra term if, through no fault of your own, you don’t graduate on time.

Graduating on time will not only save you tuition dollars, it will get you started on the next steps you have planned for your life — whether those plans include graduate school or your first career.

Graduation Commitment

As part of the Alma Commitment for on-time graduation, students may qualify for up to a term of free tuition if, through no fault of their own, they are unable to graduate on time, based on the degree and major they are pursuing.

For example, if a student has planned carefully with their academic advisor and finds that a class needed to graduate has not been offered in its typical sequence, thus causing the student to delay graduation, a request for full tuition to cover the cost should be developed.

Staying on Track for Alma’s Graduation Commitments

Depending upon the major selected, the college’s commitment to on-time graduation may apply to either a 4-year or a 4.5-year academic program. Students will be considered on track for the graduation commitment if they meet the following benchmarks:

  • Consult with an academic advisor at least once a term, while being proactive and responsibly involved in shaping and optimizing their course selections. The following areas should be addressed to assure that students are pursuing timely graduation:             
    • An appropriate number of general education courses need to be completed each year, as identified by the student and their academic advisor
    • An appropriate number of total credits toward graduation need to be completed each year. For example, students should successfully complete at least
      • Thirty credits by the end of the first year
      • Sixty-four credits by the end of the second year
      • One hundred credits by the end of the third year
      • One hundred and thirty-six credits by the end of the fourth year
  • A major must be declared by the end of the sophomore year and students must show evidence of pursuing appropriate coursework in the major each year
  • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 must be achieved each term, though it’s best to remain well above that level. Note that some majors require higher grade point averages for successful completion; students must meet the requirements of the major(s) they choose to pursue.
  • Students need to attend the all-class planning conference held during each of their years at Alma College

Students can change their majors at any time. However, depending on circumstances, a change in major may not allow a student to stay on track for the four-year or 4.5-year graduation commitment. Students should consult with their academic advisors, the Center for Student Opportunity and the Registrar’s Office to determine whether a change in major would cause a delay in completion of graduation requirements and thus negate their graduation commitment status.

Four-year Graduation Commitment

Alma’s four-year graduation commitment extends to all majors leading to 136-credit Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. While the four-year graduation commitment includes most majors, it excludes majors which lead to degrees of more than 136 credits.

4.5-year Graduation Commitment

A 4.5-year graduation commitment is an extended version of the four-year commitment and is intended for students seeking majors and degrees that typically complete in four and a half years. Longer programs usually require additional hours of internship or clinical practice. Students who remain on track to graduate with majors leading to these degrees will continue to receive Alma aid for the first semester of their fifth year. This commitment is directed toward those pursuing:

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees
  • Nursing majors
  • Teacher education majors, excluding special education majors combined with elementary or the secondary education major
  • Health care administration majors

The four-year and the 4.5-year commitments apply to completion of a single major; these commitments do not cover extended time needed to complete a second or third major, or to complete a minor. However, many students complete a second major or minor within their designated timeline.

Majors Not Included in the Graduation Commitment

Some majors are not included within either the four-year or the 4.5-year graduation commitment. However, students pursuing these programs while remaining on track and in good academic standing may continue to receive Alma aid for their fifth year. These majors include:

  • Majors leading to the Bachelor of Music in Performance or the Bachelor of Music in Education degrees
  • Special education majors with an elementary or secondary education major
Transfer Students

Transfer students are not eligible for the Alma Graduation Commitment; however, they are provided with a full eight terms of Alma aid and thus typically complete their degrees within four years. Transfer students are eligible to pursue other elements of the broad Alma Commitment, including the Venture Program.

Determining Status for the Graduation Commitment

In the fall of the sophomore and junior years, students receive a letter from the director of the Center for Student Opportunity outlining progress toward graduation and on track status relative to the graduation commitment. Each student should review this letter carefully and discuss their progress toward graduation with their academic advisor. In the fall of the senior year, every student must meet with the Registrar’s Office staff to review their progress toward graduation and to identify their expected completion date.  Planning documents are available to all students and may be acquired in the Center for Student Opportunity.