The Finish Four fund aims to increase four-year graduation (STATESMAN STOCK PHOTO)
The Finish in Four fund aims to increase four-year graduation rates. (STATESMAN STOCK PHOTO)

Stony Brook University has become one of the most well known and respected institutions in the country. Each year, the university admits a more accomplished and more competitive freshman class.

According to the Stony Brook’s website, the median SAT scores are as high as the two thousands and the median high school GPA of enrolled freshmen (class of 2014) is well into the nineties.

Even Stony Brook’s acceptance rate has seen a slight decline over the past few years, and the percentage now hovers around the high thirties to low forties.

Because having a large amount of students who graduate in four years is telltale sign of an elite university, I find the fact that less than half of our students graduate on time quite alarming.

This issue, however, has finally been addressed in President Samuel L. Stanley Jr.’s sixth annual State of the University address two weeks ago. Stanley announced his Finish in Four fund, with the students in mind.

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In his address, Stanley pointed out that there are two main reasons that students at Stony Brook cannot seem to graduate when they are supposed to.

One is simple and, unfortunately, very unavoidable. The other reason, in my opinion is the school’s own fault. Since Stony Brook is among the most affordable top tier schools in the United States and also probably the school that gives you the most “bang for your buck” in the State of New York, it is extremely attractive to students from low income families or students that have low income.

Despite its relative affordability at our university, a college education in general is extremely expensive. So expensive that it is not uncommon to find students dropping out or skipping years in order to save money for the most food, rent, clothes and whatever else there might be.

For the aforementioned reasons, the Finish in Four fund is providing up to $250,000 in financial aid and will provide an increase of core online classes by offering grants to faculty who wish to start them.

This way, if students are kept out of some essential classes, they can elect to take them online and not fall behind the rest of their students. Thus, their time (and, more importantly, money) spent at SBU drops. Thank you Stanley.

The other reason students find it difficult to finish on time is that the university itself has done a horrible job in advising and offering core classes to each and every student.

To tackle these issues, Stanley is also welcoming 181 new faculty members and administrators. Hopefully, these added staff members can provide more widespread and better help to students that are in need. It is almost disheartening how many times I have heard older students say not to listen to the academic advisors here.

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The sadder part is that the students are right in their words of warning.

We need this change to the school. We are a university that graduates professionals, so, is it not fitting that the professionals of the future be advised by the professionals of today? I certainly think so.

As much as the university, its staff and students like to rag on Stanley for his shortcomings and his at times seemingly apathetic attitude towards current students, we sometimes fail to realize how much he as actually changed this school.

Everywhere, from the dining facilities to the sporting events to the residence halls, Stanley’s impact has been profound and, in my opinion, extremely important for the advancement and betterment of Stony Brook University.

The Finish in Four fund is just another step in the right direction for our school in its journey to become among the top places to study in the world.

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