‘Eternal’ university students to be ousted

Thousands of students who are taking too long to complete their university courses will be barred from continuing their degrees, Education Minister Andreas Loverdos said on Monday.

As a result of reforms passed a few years ago, the names of any students taking longer than 11 years to complete courses that should run to a maximum of five years will be scrubbed from university registers.

“Everybody has had a long enough time to prepare,” said Loverdos. “All these students were warned in 2007 and then again in 2011.”

Kathimerini understands that the move could affect as many as 180,000 so-called “eternal students.” Loverdos claimed that the list of those who had not yet completed their degrees included people who had been attending classes in the 1950s.

He added that he was not willing to delay or change the measure, which is due to take effect on August 31. “Whoever thinks that we will give ground on this for petty political reasons only has to wait for a few more days to find out whether we will be true to our word,” said the minister.

Loverdos argued that although most of these students were not a financial burden for the state, the cleaning up of university records would allow the government to make more accurate calculations about the number of teaching and administrative staff required at the public institutions.

The minister refused to give further information about the government’s proposal to allow university students to freely transfer between institutions. This has created fears that universities in rural areas will lose students as parents seek to save money by bringing their children closer to home.