Academic albatross

Two-thirds of this editorial board still has a year left on an already prolonged education, but we’re not exceptions. We seem to be the rule.

A similar majority of Youngstown State University’s students fail to graduate within six years. Our student-athletes’ graduation rates are the lowest among Ohio’s public universities, and they’re still dramatically better than YSU’s rates overall.

Of all students who enrolled in 2004, 42 percent have left the Ohio system completely. So, what’s the hold up?

The fear of increased student loan rates and rising tuition should encourage a punctual graduation, but it doesn’t always.

In his campaign for president of the Student Government Association, Cory Okular proposed a first-year experience program that would pave a path to graduation for incoming students. The university has talked about it for years.

Eligible students would report to an adviser and take advantage of tutoring services and study halls.

Some will say we’re oversimplifying a complex program, but YSU already has most of the tools that make the jocks look smart.

The Center for Student Progress provides peer mentors for the asking. The Writing Center is open most days of the week.

If students want more, they should demonstrate a commitment. Let them sign up for these services in hordes.

Make the peer tutors and mentors around campus beg the university for a larger investment. Student success will translate to higher retention and course completion rates, which determine state funding, and money equals leverage.

But incentives can’t fix everything.

Many enroll at YSU without the skills necessary to benefit from higher education, and they waste thousands of dollars in the process.

Eastern Gateway Community College’s consistent growth suggests that students want to take entry-level and general education courses with less risk and costs.

Now that YSU isn’t the only game in town, the university should hasten a transition to academic standards for enrollment.

EGCC can build a foundation for students and then expedite them through the university’s halls. Retention and course completion rates will increase even further.

Before demanding more opportunities, let’s show we deserve them.