Does the victory lap impact graduation rates?

Holy Usain Bolt, Batman!  Whatever happened to the quaint notion that you go to college to explore your interests and develop as an individual? From The Cap Times.

The fifth year of college: delaying the inevitable or preparing for the future?
For teens on the journey to adulthood, there may be no more transformative time than their years as a college undergraduate. 
They enter with visions of multiple majors and, involvement in a long list of campus organizations and a vibrant social life. By the beginning of their second year, reality usually takes hold, compressing visions into a more realistic picture. 
Part of that reimagined path often involves University of Wisconsin-Madison students electing to take a fifth year — jokingly referred to as a “victory lap” — to complete their undergraduate degree. 
At UW-Madison, 55.5 percent of students who entered campus in the fall of 2007 had earned a degree four years later, up from 47.1 percent six years before. On first glance that number may seem low, but according to a 2012 report by The Washington Post, 33 of the 50 flagship state universities had a four-year graduation rate under 50 percent. 
Indeed, only two public universities — the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina — rank among the top 50 colleges nationally in four-year graduation rates, with highly selective private institutions dominating the list. The obvious explanation for this private-public discrepancy is money. Lower tuition makes a fifth year more plausible.


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