UGA officials voted to make the change last month because the proportion of students earning honor diplomas has crept up to nearly half. The Athens Banner-Herald reported 40 percent of those graduating Friday finished with grades meeting at least the current standard for cum laude distinction.
About half that many students graduated with honors 15 years ago.
Standards colleges use are different across the nation, and others have recently opted to make honors more difficult to earn, said Rodney Mauricio, Educational Affairs Committee chairman for the UGA University Council.
“The variation among universities is tremendous,” Mauricio said.
The council voted April 23 in favor of raising honor requirements as Mauricio’s committee suggested. Under the new standards, students will be required to have a grade-point average of 3.6 to graduate cum laude, compared to 3.5 now. Magna cum laude grads will need a 3.75 average, up from 3.7. The 3.9 grade-point average required to graduate summa cum laude will remain the same.
Council members rejected a proposal by engineering professor David Stooksbury to allow individual schools within UGA to set different honor standards by degree.
Current UGA students shouldn’t have to worry. The changes don’t take effect until December 2018.