An Interesting Way to Cut the Cost of a College Degree

Just when I thought that a four year degree was a standard set in stone, apparently it is not.

Recent talk about rolling out three year degree programs might be a good way to cut the cost of college by 25%, as long as tuition does not keep rising.

Anyway, here is the story that caught my eye today.

Some Colleges Offering Degrees in 3 Years

Not much else seems to be helping keep down college costs, so maybe this will: a three-year college degree.

It’s an idea that’s never really caught on, at least in the United States, but it may be gaining traction with the economy in deep recession.

On Tuesday, Hartwick College, a liberal arts school in Oneonta, N.Y., became perhaps the most high-profile school yet to announce it would offer a broad range of students the opportunity to finish a bachelor’s degree in three years, saving a full year of tuition and fees (which run $42,705 there this year).

It’s probably not a solution to the national problem of surging college costs. Faculty may object and worry about standards. And at big public universities, it’s already hard enough to get into all the classes you need. Sometimes students are lucky to get through in five years.

Still, the economic troubles seem to have generated more buzz around the idea.

At the American Council on Education’s annual meeting earlier this month, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. and a former university president, pressed college presidents to offer three-year degrees. In Rhode Island, legislators are considering a bill that would create a standard set of college-level classes for high schools, so all students could have an opportunity to finish college in three years.

Three years is the norm for undergraduate degrees in Europe, and a handful of U.S. colleges offer variants of a three-year program, including Judson College in Alabama, Manchester College in Indiana, and Seattle University. Others, such as Bates College in Maine, offer highly qualified students some three-year options. And of course, at many schools, students with a large number of Advanced Placement credits may be able to graduate early.

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Still, the idea has hardly caught fire, despite rising college costs. Students seem to like spending at least four years in college.

Read the rest here.

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1 thought on “An Interesting Way to Cut the Cost of a College Degree”

  1. I can see merit to both sides of the issue actually. Most important being the point you made in the article: at some school, cutting the 4th year can save you almost $50,000. It cuts costs of tuition, education expenses such as books and supplies, and campus living. However, by missing out on the 4th year of college, some students may not get to experience their full potential for growth while experiencing college life. I know that in my 4th year of college I grew so much more than I did any of the previous 3 years. This may be a positive or negative thing for different students across the country and worldwide.


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