Student Government passed a joint resolution Tuesday to increase the visibility of auto-graduation, a process that has caused confusion among students pursuing multiple degrees and other non-traditional tracks through the University.
The auto-graduation process, meant to help students who forget to apply to graduate, automatically adds students to the graduation list if they have completed one degree on their audit. For some students, this has created complications with study abroad programs, double majors, the Archer Fellowship Program and UTeach, according to Joint Resolution 4.
“I do think that a lot of the problems with auto-graduation that are happening right now is because it is so new, rather than because the policies are necessarily bad,” said Quynhanh Tran, Liberal Arts Council vice president.
JR 4, which passed unanimously, will make the frequently asked questions about the process available before students are notified they are on the auto-graduation list to avoid further confusion.
Currently students are notified they are on the list for auto-graduation via a secure message from their college, Tran said Tuesday night. The wording of the notification, and the accompanying FAQ page, made some students believe they only had two days to submit an appeal to take them off the auto-graduation list. They actually have a month.
“It does seem to be a long enough process for students to adequately appeal,” said Tran, a Plan II honors senior. “It just seems that students aren’t aware of that because the language of the secure academic notes that they’re getting isn’t making that obvious.”
A more detailed FAQ list will be posted on MyUT and the senior countdown page, Tran said.
The administration decided against sending out a University-wide email about the policy because of concerns that it would cause more confusion, said Cassandre Alvarado, director of student success and graduation initiatives.
“Our belief is that by sending information out to the entire campus community, we might cause more confusion than actually clearing up confusion since such a small number of students are ultimately impacted and need to be aware of it,” Alvarado said.
Alvarado said the main misconception is whether students can continue to take courses at the University after receiving a bachelor’s degree through auto-graduation.
“The answer is yes,” Alvarado said. “Just because UT has awarded you a bachelor’s degree does not mean you cannot continue to register and continue to take courses and continue to be enrolled.”
Some students still say the University should work harder to clarify what will happen to students’ financial aid after a degree is conferred. Psychology senior Milla Lubis lost part of her University-issued scholarship after she graduated with a degree in psychology last December.
“Because I’m a degree holder, I am not able to receive one of my scholarships,” Lubis said. “They never really let me know that if I graduated, I wouldn’t have my scholarship.”
Even after speaking with her advisors, Lubis said she was not told her financial aid situation would change.
“It’s a really difficult process, and students would benefit from more transparency from the administration,” Lubis said. “You want students to finish all of their degrees, so you need to give them enough information.”