One in three university students who graduated in 2008 and 2009 took seven years or more to finish their studies, according to Education Ministry figures which reinforce the stereotype of the so-called eternal student. Out of a total of 28,331 students who graduated from state universities in 2008 or 2009, 7,226 needed seven years or even more to complete their studies and get their degrees, according to the ministry statistics. The majority – 14,509 – took five to six years to finish while the smallest group – 6,596 – managed to complete their studies in four years. Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou said yesterday that a debate between government officials and academics on ways of overhauling universities and improving teaching would be completed and the reforms submitted to Parliament before the end of February. University rectors have expressed reservations about the proposed reforms, which foresee the recruitment of independent assessors to check universities and academics. Many students object to the changes too and are planning faculty sit-ins.