The IU Student Association has brought MyEdu, a course planning website servicing more than 750 colleges and universities, to Bloomington. According to MyEdu’s website, the service incorporates many facets of class scheduling, including course sequencing, degree timelines and textbook price shopping, all into one free
“MyEdu reduces the uncertainty involved with planning and managing your time in college,” said Karen Holst, vice president of corporate marketing for MyEdu. “The program immediately benefits IU students and ultimately parents and the University itself.”
It takes the average U.S. college student 5.3 years to earn a degree, and that number is only rising, Holst said. Moreover, Holst said, for IU students who began in the fall of 2003, 53 percent graduated within four years, jumping to 74 percent within six years.
“Ultimately our goal is to provide a free academic service that provides IU students with accurate information to help plan and manage their college degree,” IUSA president Michael Coleman said in a press release. “In doing so we hope to increase the on-time graduation rate from 54 percent to 60 percent at IU.”
IUSA was prompted to begin the partnership with MyEdu after the Indiana Commission for Higher Education suggested that performance-based funding was on the horizon, according to the press release.
An increased graduation rate could potentially save students and their parents thousands in university tuition.
“Time is money — especially in terms of college tuition,” Holst said. “Families can save more than $20,000 by reducing the number of semesters it takes to complete a degree. With the rate of tuition increasing by 50 percent in the past 10 years in Indiana, we are happy to help where we can.”
While acknowledging MyEdu’s services and IUSA’s good intentions, academic adviser Anna Bednarski has concerns about the new resource.
“The advantage of talking to an adviser is that advisers can give more nuanced advice than a website,” Bednarski said.
She said that advisers can more aptly help students with tricky issues such as adding a new major or bouncing back academically from a challenging semester and can provide students with in-depth explanations and up-to-the-minute information.
“Of course, not all student resources are perfect, including academic advising,” Bednarski said. “But it is my hope that students will not use MyEdu as a substitute for the resources that IU already offers.”
Holst also described MyEdu not as a substitution for meeting with advisers but as an additional tool that allows students to do things like track credit requirements, understand courses common between degrees if they want to switch majors and know the workload of courses for balanced semesters.
Holst also encourages students who take advantage of the service to print out sample schedules and plans and discuss them with their adviser.
“I think that program would be great, especially for freshmen who don’t have the knowledge or are too intimidated to talk with upperclassmen about classes,” junior Samantha Duterville said. “It’s a way of having an adviser without someone physically checking up on you. Yet, the advisers are still there to advise on other things. I wish it had come earlier.”
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