(WITH VIDEO) – Students are disappointed in Murray State’s cum laude GPA requirement change from a 3.3 to a 3.4, but by decreasing the number of hours in residence and removing the upper level hours in residence will in turn help more students qualify for academic honors at graduation.
Mark Rhodes, junior from Farmington, Ky., came to Murray State understanding the requirements that were needed.
“I started school under the assumption that I could make a certain GPA and graduate under honors,” Rhodes said. “But now I will be a senior and it is too late to dramatically change my GPA to reach newer standards.”
Although this requirement won’t be affective until the fall 2015 semester, the policy change was approved in 2013 by the Academic Council with delayed implementation, giving the students the chance to prepare for the change.
The Academic Council intended on students being prepared for the change, students are just now becoming aware of the change.
The change from a 3.3 to a 3.4 has caused many students to complain to the Registrar’s office.
Kirby Pittman, employee in the Registrar’s office, said people have called to explain how they have worked so hard to be where they are now, but they feel stripped of their hard work as the standards are raised.
Savannah Murphy, senior from Hardinsburg, Ky., straddles the line of cum laude as she graduates next May.
“I just don’t understand why the GPA requirement has changed,” Murphy said. “I have put so much work into it and it is slipping through my fingers like sand.”
Justin Jones, junior from Mayfield, Ky., is on the edge of the GPA, but doesn’t mind the requirement change as much.
“I could go either way, but I would be OK with whichever,” Jones said. “I have worked hard to be where I am and it is OK.”
Wendy Tudor, assistant registrar and graduation registrar, gave specific reasoning for the GPA change.
Tudor said the requirements of Latin honors have not been changed for several decades and Murray State wanted to better align its requirements with those of its sister schools throughout the region and Kentucky.
Tudor said she feels making this change will give Murray State students a more competitive edge when applying for jobs or graduate schools, after graduation.
Along with the GPA change, the Academic Council also approved the notion to decrease the number of required in-residence credit hours from 45 to 40 hours.
Also, the Academic Council removed the requirement to have 32 upper level in-residence credit hours.
Decreasing in-residence credit hours and removing upper level credit hours will open up the opportunity for more students to study abroad and for transfer students to qualify for Latin honors.
Under the old policy, students who studied abroad were not given Latin honors because credits earned from their study abroad program did not qualify as residence credit.
“It was frustrating to see a student with a 3.88 GPA not qualify for Latin honors because he or she studied abroad,” Tudor said.
Tudor said she thinks students will continue to work hard to earn the Latin honors for their degree.
“As a University, we want to be competitive and ensure that the rigor of our degrees is comparable to other institutions,” Tudor said.
Story by Julia Mazzuca, Staff writer