Policy to offer some students second chance

A new policy will re-admit students after five years of leave.

A new policy will re-admit students after five years of leave.

Students who leave Temple or fail to complete requirements are now able to receive a second chance. The university’s new readmission policy is designed to give students a do-over if they were unsuccessful the first time.

According to Temple’s Undergraduate Bulletin, “A dismissed student, whether he or she has taken courses on Conditional Status or not, may apply for readmission after five years from the date of last enrollment at Temple University. Application for readmission to degree candidacy may be made to any Temple school or college.”

Those students who were dismissed due to low grade point averages can return after five years. The students are treated as transfers and their previous GPAs are cleared; credit for previously passed classes are still recognized.

In an interview with KYW Newsradio 1060, senior vice provost Peter Jones said about 100 students a year face dismissal due to bad grades.

Christopher Dennis, the associate vice provost for undergraduate studies, said this policy applies to students who were dismissed from the Fall 2003 semester and later. There are eight students who have taken advantage of this program to date.

“The rationale for having this kind of program is that students fail for all kinds of reasons – they may have family situations that are quite complicated,” Dennis said. “Temple, of all places I know, is an institution of second chances. So this allows students … who are at a different point of their life, to come back and recommit to their studies and to succeeding academically.”

“Five years is a long time to be away, and a lot can happen,” Dennis continued. “So for students who are ready to come back, it’s probably a good decision on both the student’s part and the institution’s part.”

Students have mixed feelings about the policy.

“I think installing this program might lower the quality of Temple education because it won’t be seen as competitive and will be seen as a community college,” Gwendolyn Morris, a junior nursing major, said.

“I personally think it’s a good policy because a lot of people [fail out and] will go and just give up on college altogether,” said Kayla Feifer, a sophomore psychology and English major. “And if they have this incentive of, ‘Oh, I can just come back,’ they’ll come back, which is good because we need highly educated people in the workforce, not people that are going to be flipping burgers.”

Other universities in the area practice similar policies. For example, the University of Sciences in Philadelphia has a readmission program known as Fresh Start. Like Temple’s guidelines, the Fresh Start readmission program doesn’t allow students to apply previously earned grades toward their GPAs. At USP, courses that were already taken do not count toward degree requirements.

University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science also has a readmission policy. Students usually have to wait at least 12 to 18 months before applying for readmission.

“I think it’s too early in the program really to make any reasonable inference about trends,” Dennis said. “The sample is just so small.”

Kurt Hirsch can be reached at kurt.hirsch@temple.edu.

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