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ERIC Number: EJ847400
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun-12
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Colleges Offer a Degree in 3
Carlson, Scott; Lipka, Sara
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n39 pA20 Jun 2009
In today's tough economy, students and parents alike are looking for ways to save on college tuition. With sticker prices well into the tens of thousands per year at any private liberal-arts institution, the prospect of shaving a year off the typical four-year journey is an added attraction at a number of colleges, like Franklin & Marshall, Hartwick, and Manchester Colleges, and Southern New Hampshire. If you're willing to work hard for three years, you'll be out a year ahead in the work force with 25 percent less debt--or so the reasoning goes. But at most institutions, the three-year degree and its benefits are available to only a sliver of the total student population--in most cases only the very best and most driven students. That makes the three-year degree an unlikely solution for the overall problem of rising college costs. And some educators question whether students should barrel through college at an accelerated clip, even if they can. The notion of the three-year degree has been discussed in higher education for decades. An essay in "The Chronicle" last fall by the late George Keller, who was chairman of the department of higher-education studies at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education, laid out some common arguments for three-year degrees: Many high-school students are ahead in taking Advance Placement courses, and they aspire to get on to graduate school--indeed, some students already finish their degrees in three years without a formal program. And, Mr. Keller argued, American society no longer follows an agrarian calendar, so colleges could accelerate their schedule by going year-round. The idea has its critics, too. "People are saying to us very plainly that we haven't been able to squeeze the value out of four years that's acceptable," says George D. Kuh, director of the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University at Bloomington. "How are we going to do that in three?" While college is about learning new material, he says, it's also about development--time to think critically, grow socially, and participate in effective learning experiences, like study abroad and internships. All of those are hard to integrate into a three-year degree, Mr. Kuh says.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A