U. of Baltimore Offers a Free Semester to Students Who Can Finish in 4 Years

The University of Baltimore announced on Tuesday that new freshmen entering this fall will be offered free tuition in their final semester if they can finish their degrees in four years, The Baltimore Sun reported.

The university’s president, Robert L. Bogomolny, said the break was not a direct response to the university’s low four-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time freshmen, which now stands at 8 percent, second-lowest in the University System of Maryland. But he said he hoped the deal would help motivate students to finish more quickly, lighten their debt load upon graduation, and induce more students to apply.

“Most of our students are first-time students, they’re economically challenged students, and they’re coming from families that don’t have a history of higher education,” Mr. Bogomolny said. “So, for them, persistence is more complex.”

Officials don’t yet know what the program will cost, but Mr. Bogomolny said the break should pay for itself because the university ends up using more resources on students who stay in college for more than four years and because the deal could lead to a rise in enrollment. The state-university system is watching to see whether the offer should be replicated at other institutions.

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