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March 25, 2009
Kevin Coburn, Director of Communications

Green Mountain College Issues Four-Year Guarantee
POULTNEY--Freshmen arriving at Green Mountain College for the fall 2009 semester may have the best insurance against the crushing weight of student loan debt: a four-year guarantee issued by the college.

GMC has made the following pledge to incoming freshmen: "We guarantee that you will graduate in four years or we will cover all tuition costs for any additional course work at GMC needed for graduation.”

Students who maintain 2.0 GPA, take a minimum 15-credit course load each semester, and meet regularly with their faculty advisor will not have to pay for tuition beyond their four years of study at the College. “We’re saying to students ‘If you work hard and collaborate closely with your advisor, you can be sure that you will make it in four years or it’s on us,’” said GMC President Paul Fonteyn.

The Green Mountain College Four-Year Guarantee is in response to an often overlooked factor in the high cost of a college education: students often need five years or longer to complete all their course requirements for graduation. One national study shows that only 37% of students attending a four-year college or university actually graduate in four years. Depending on the institution, that can translate into tens of thousands of extra dollars spent on the path to a baccalaureate degree.

“When students and families do their cost analysis, it’s not only critical to evaluate the contents of each financial aid award letter, but also to consider the type of institution and the potential additional costs that will be incurred if the student cannot graduate in four years,” said Sandy Bartholomew, GMC’s Dean of Enrollment Management.

This difference is important for families to consider at a time when state budgets are stretched and less money is available to support public colleges. For many public institutions this may mean fewer resources and larger classes. And as classes become crowded, students are less likely to be able to take all the courses they need within four years.”

“For us, the guarantee is a really an expression of faith in our advisory system,” said Bartholomew. “GMC is a small school where faculty members monitor student progress very closely.”

Students will still be able to take course electives to broaden their educational experience. Most will have the option of changing their major at least once during their four-year career, though students majoring in education or fine art need to declare their major upon entering Green Mountain College.

Green Mountain College is a four year liberal arts college that takes the environment as a unifying theme for its 800 undergraduates in 21 major programs of study. GMC also offers two master's degrees: A master of science in environmental studies and a master of business administration (M.B.A.). Founded in 1834, Green Mountain College is celebrating its 175th anniversary.

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