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.
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.
Example: A student has planned carefully with their academic advisor and met all of the criteria below for staying on track but 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 submitted. An approved request would cover the cost of tuition for the one course needed to graduate.
Our Commitment Programs
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 their standard 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.
Transfer Graduation Commitment
Effective in fall 2019, transfer students may qualify for up to a term of free tuition if, through no fault of their own, they are unable to graduate according to the academic plan established upon entry.
If a student has planned carefully with an academic advisor and finds that a class needed to graduate has not been offered in its typical sequence and no adequate solution to fill the requirement can be found (e.g. course substitution or waiver), thus causing the student to delay graduation, the student may apply for a tuition grant to cover the cost of required courses to graduate.
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 their standard 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
- Nursing majors (requires 4 spring terms)
Please see the “Staying on Track for the Alma Graduation Commitments” below. These must be met to be considered on track for all commitments.
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
- 30 credits by the end of the first year
- 64 credits by the end of the second year
- 100 credits by the end of the third year
- 136 credits by the end of the fourth year
- A major must be officially declared with the registrar’s office 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.
- Avoid repeating courses as it may put a student off track for completing on time. Students may want to consider transferring in courses to replace previously taken Alma courses. Please work closely with an advisor when determining to repeat a course.
- Choosing to delay graduation by holding back classes or adding additional majors/minors will void the Alma Commitment.
- Students need to attend the all-class planning conference held during each of their years at Alma College. Details can be found at https://www.alma.edu/academics/support/center-for-student-opportunity/all-class-conference/ .
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.
Determining Status for the Graduation Commitment
Students can determine if they are on track via Self Service between their academic plan, meetings with advisors, and attending senior audits offered at the start of fall and winter terms for any student. The registrar’s office reaches out directly to those with 80+ credits. Students also have a responsibility to initiate a conversation with their academic advisor to determine if they are on track to graduate on time.