When President Theobald last week unveiled his “Fly in 4” program – which offers a four-year graduation guarantee and scholarships to discourage students from working part-time – it brought to life a commitment he made in his inaugural address: focusing on students and their financial needs.
In that same speech, Theobald also promised to build upon Russell Conwell’s legacy, encourages one to strive for greatness without going beyond his or her means.
When Theobald made the recommendation to the Board of Trustees in December to cut seven sports, it was an egregious slight to the Conwell legacy that Theobald had so heavily spoke upon two months before.
The “Fly in 4” program represents a step in the right direction for Theobald, who has received his fair share of criticism for the cuts. “Fly in 4” maintains Temple’s legacy in the Philadelphia community for rewarding those who work hard to put themselves through college.
By providing financial assistance to students who would likely have to work more than 15 hours a week in order to pay their bills and tuition, the Theobald administration is granting opportunities to those discouraged by the ever-rising cost of a college education.
We also support “Fly in 4’s” four-year guarantee, which will allow students to plan out a four-year path to graduation, as well as be reimbursed if they are not able to take classes due to Temple’s own scheduling.
The Theobald administration must also be lauded for recognizing that Temple’s comparatively low four-year graduation rate – 43 percent – was a massive hole in Temple’s pledge to provide quality education at an affordable price. The price Temple charges for tuition is nearly irrelevant when more than half of its students must shell out tuition for five or six years.
In moving ahead, the Theobald administration should take more steps like the “Fly in 4” program that help students who have shown a commitment to their studies. While excesses such as an on-campus football stadium and a Top 25 basketball program would be nice, decisions should be made with students who live in the Conwell legacy in mind.