Graduation guarantees from colleges

Buy four, get four free.{} This sounds like a great deal for colleges, who promise you'll get a degree in four years.{} A growing number of colleges are trying to entice students with a guarantee: finish in four years, or the extra tuition is free.{} The average college freshman takes more than five and a half years to graduate.{} However, most of these four-year guarantees come with conditions.Freshman may be required to declare and stick to a major all four years, take certain classes or forgo studying abroad.{} Even with free tuition after the fourth year, students still have to pay dorm and living costs.{} The guarantee comes from the colleges promising to help students finish in four years by eliminating roadblocks to graduation.{} These might include things like reducing overcrowding, lowering the number of credits required to graduate, and creating standard four-year plans that can easily be followed.{} If school-caused delays prevent a student who signs up for a guarantee from finishing in four years, the college promises to pay for any extra courses they need.The bottom line: read the fine print.{} Every program is different, so make sure you understand what the college requires and what it offers in return.