Wayne State University - Low Income Students Adversely Affected By Graduation Policy

Wayne State University - Low Income Students Adversely Affected By Graduation Policy

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Spenser LaVallee started this petition to Wayne State University Students and

What is the problem?

Currently, an undergraduate business student that transfers to Wayne State University (WSU) using the articulation agreements from any of the 7 community colleges that the business college at WSU works in Michigan can obtain up to 38 in-residence credits during their time at WSU. At WSU, 56 in-residence credits, along with belonging to the top 20% of students in terms of academic performance, are required to graduate with distinction.

At the current curriculum tuition rate for a Freshman In-State student, those 18 credit hours cost $8,377.09 at WSU. At Oakland Community College, those 18 credits cost $1,882.00. The $6,495.09 difference between those two fees is roughly 33% of the average Detroit resident’s annual income of $19,798.00.

WSU should want to recognize and reward students that excel. 6 general education level classes taken at a community college instead of at WSU should not be the threshold at which recognition occurs. In comparison, the University of Michigan, the highest-ranked college in the state, requires only 45 in-residence credits to be eligible for graduating with distinction. 

Why does this matter?

Wayne State University is a university that prides itself on diversity, with a focus on assistance to those from low-income backgrounds through programs such as the Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge. Their current transfer student graduation policy is out of alignment with the values that WSU stands for- it has negative effects for nontraditional college students and those from low-income households. Transfer students add to the diversity that is present on campus thanks to the various backgrounds of their constituents and should be encouraged to pursue excellence in higher education. 

On July 8th, 2021, I received a letter of rejection concerning the modification of this policy from R. Darin Ellis, Associate Provost for Academic Programs at Wayne State. This petition is the next step towards the Board of Governors enacting change. 

WSU is receiving public funding but is not backing up its promise to serve the low-income and nontraditional student community by putting graduating with distinction on a shelf too high to reach for those that need to attend a community college. This needs to change!

Why Graduating with Distinction Matters

Graduating with distinction provides marks of honor on the transcript and diploma which will carry value throughout the life of an individual. The titles granted upon graduation can be an influential decision-making point when displayed on a résumé and on LinkedIn. Additionally, the marks of distinction being announced during the graduation ceremony provide a point of inspiration that can influence the lives of the friends and family present.

Speaking from experience, it was watching the graduation ceremony of a family member and hearing the marks of distinction being announced for him that made me believe that it was possible for me too. That experience has helped to push me through many difficult hours of study while in attendance at Wayne State.

What is next?

Sign the petition, please! If this policy is changed, it can drastically alter the lives of the students that transfer to WSU using an articulation agreement from a community college. Over an issue of 18 credits (or roughly 6 classes), the university is currently willing to let a student lose the privilege of graduating with distinction. At the conclusion of this petition, I will be submitting the results as well as a supporting document to the Board of Governors at WSU.

Background on articulation agreements

Articulation agreements are designed to allow students to complete courses at a community college and transfer them to a 4-year institution, fulfilling most, if not all, lower-division general education requirements. They are specifically designed to help students minimize the expense of getting a four-year degree. Students may also decide to take classes at a community college instead of at a four-year university for reasons such as home location, family history, familiarity with the area, and nearness to employment. 

Who I am

My name is Spenser LaVallee, and I am a senior at WSU in the Mike Ilitch School of Business. I have a GPA of 3.96 and I have 5 classes remaining until graduation. I transferred to WSU using an articulation agreement.




0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!