Degrees, separation

Sacramento State University survey says hundreds of ’super seniors’ can’t graduate

The term “super seniors” doesn't refer to a league of heroes past their prime. It's a pet name for the hundreds of students beyond their fourth year at Sacramento State University who have accumulated the necessary 120 units to graduate, but still don't have a degree to show for it.

According to a spring 2013 survey of nongraduating seniors administered by Sac State's Office of Institutional Research, the biggest roadblocks to pomp and circumstance are limited class availability, poor advising and nontransferable units.

Impacted majors and classes played a part, too. Courses required for students' majors fill up quickly, so students often have to wait a semester—or another year—to fulfill requirements, enrolling in “burning classes” to maintain full-time status and qualify for financial aid, but they get nowhere closer to their degrees, according to the survey.

In addition, many students didn't even know what classes they needed to graduate. According to the report, students say a complicated process and the limited availability of required courses is why graduating in six years is the new norm for a bachelor's degree.