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10/16/2014 - Hattiesburg, Miss.

With only 48 percent of students graduating in four years, the Student Body Presidents of Mississippi's eight public universities have decided to encourage their fellow students to know their plan and graduate on time.

The Student Body Presidents' Council launched the Finish in 4 campaign at the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning meeting held today in Hattiesburg and will carry the message to their respective campuses during the upcoming advising period when students select their classes for the Spring semester and during the Spring semester as they plan for Summer and Fall semester classes.

"We've seen some of our friends wait too late in their college career to make a plan so they could graduate in four years," said Brett Harris, SGA president at Mississippi State University and chair of the Student Body Presidents' Council. "We want to encourage students to develop a plan early so they can finish in four years and move to the next level of their careers."

Using the mantra, "Know Your Plan," the Student Body Presidents encourage students to speak with their academic advisers to make certain they understand the number of hours required to earn a degree in their major and to take enough hours each semester to earn a degree in four years. Taking a maximum of 12 credit hours each semester equates to at least five years before earning a bachelor's degree. If a student takes an average of 15.5 credit hours each semester, the time to a degree is reduced to four years.

"We applaud the Student Body Presidents' Council for this initiative," said Aubrey Patterson, president of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning. "It will not only help students save money by graduating sooner, it will also help our state by preparing students to enter the workforce sooner."

On average, each added year costs the student approximately $11,000 in tuition plus room and board. In addition, the chances of graduating decline significantly after four years.

Finish in 4 brochures are being distributed to students in Freshmen Experience courses through academic advisers. The Finish in 4 message will be promoted through social media and campus organizations. The message is simple: Know your plan, graduate on time and save money.

The Student Body Presidents' Council is comprised of the Student Body President from each of the public universities and the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The Council members work together on initiatives of importance to students, such as a policy to control the cost of textbooks and a campus health initiative, Spring into Health.

The Mississippi Finish in Four Campaign is sponsored by the College Knowledge Project, a college access initiative of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning and funded by the US ED College Access Challenge Grant Program. Coordinated by Casey Turnage, P-20 Director, Kim Gallaspy, Director of Legislative Services and the Student Body Presidents, this effort is based on the "15 to Finish" campaign developed by the University of Hawaii's "Hawaii Graduation Initiative."

Students can learn more at riseupms.com/finishin4.

Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, including (front row, l-r) Dr. Hank M. Bounds, Commissioner of Higher Education, Trustee Aubrey Patterson of Tupelo, President of the Board, Trustee Christy Pickering of Biloxi, Trustee Shane Hooper of Tupelo; (back row, l-r) Trustee Alan Perry of Jackson, Vice President of the Board, Trustee Dr. Doug Rouse of Hattiesburg, Trustee Bob Owens of Jackson, Trustee Dr. Ford Dye of Oxford, Trustee C.D. Smith of Meridian, Trustee Hal Parker of Bolton, and Trustee Ed Blakeslee of Gulfport, show their support for the Finish in 4 campaign, an initiative launched recently by the Student Body Presidents' Council to encourage students to know their plans and graduate within four years.


The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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