Tag Archives: Pros and cons of accelerated degree programs

Will a three year B.A. help more students afford college?

24 Jun

In 3rd world America: College increasingly out of reach, moi said:

Moi really doesn’t know what to make of the idea of privatizing state universities.  In the recent past, government had the goal of raising the standard of living and producing the economic conditions that fostered livable wage jobs. The goal of most politicians was to create the conditions that promoted and fostered a strong middle class. Particularly, after WWII and the Korean War, with the G.I Bill, one part of that equation was the wide availability of a college education. This push produced an educated workforce and a college education was within reach, no matter one’s class or social status. This educated workforce helped drive this country’s prosperity. Now, have we lost the goal of providing educational opportunity the widest number of people possible, no matter their class or social status? This question causes moi to wonder about privatizing state universities.

Sam Dillion was writing about the prospect of privatizing public universities in the New York Times in 2005. See, At Public Universities, Warnings of Privatization In 2004, William Symonds wrote an opinion piece in Business Week about the role of public universities

Justin Pope, AP Education Writer details just how fast college costs are rising all over the country in the article, College prices up again as states slash budgets:

Average in-state tuition and fees at four-year public colleges rose an additional $631 this fall, or 8.3 percent, compared with a year ago.

Nationally, the cost of a full credit load has passed $8,000, an all-time high. Throw in room and board, and the average list price for a state school now runs more than $17,000 a year, according to the twin annual reports on college costs and student aid published Wednesday by the College Board.


Prospective students and families will not only have to worry about getting into college, but finding a way to pay for college. So, it comes as no surprise that reducing the time it takes to get a B.A.  is an idea that is being floated.  https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/3rd-world-america-college-increasingly-out-of-reach/

Mary Beth Marklein writes in the USA TODAY article, Cut college tuition by getting 4-year degree in 3 years:

Yet for all its pocketbook appeal, the three-year concept hasn’t taken off, particularly at public universities. Legislation in Rhode Island in 2009 and Washington last year encourages public universities to develop three-year options, but no programs have been proposed to date, officials in both states say. State budget challenges have pushed a University of California committee’s recommendation to a back burner, says system spokesman Steve Montiel.

At Ohio State University, which must phase in three-year degrees beginning this fall, provost Joe Alutto says a three-year degree may be “misdirected for an institution such as ours.” He told legislators last year that students who earned college credit in high school tend to add a minor or second major rather than graduate early.

Some skeptics worry about quality. “It’s as if they put students on a conveyer belt and just speed them up and spray them with a fire hose and the students catch what they can,” Southern New Hampshire University professor Marty Bradley says of models that compress four years into three. He pioneered a three-year degree on his campus in 1997 that required an overhaul of the curriculum.

Some education groups argue that resources, particularly at public institutions, should focus on students who are most at risk of dropping out. A study of 33 states by the non-profit Complete College America found that just 26% of students enrolled at public institutions earn a bachelor’s in four years; 54.3% take six years. About 2% of students earning a bachelor’s in 2007-08 did so in three years, federal data show. Hartwick’s four-year graduation rate in recent years averages about 46%.  http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/college/story/2012-06-18/three-year-college-degrees/55746696/1#.T-U7ubWwBmE.email

For many students, a three year program will result in a huge savings, but there are risks for other students.

Mandee Heller Adler, Founder and Principal of International College Counselors writes in the article, 3-Year college degrees can save time and money, but is it worth it?

Some of the pros and the cons of the 3-year plan include:


• Three years give a boost for ambitious students who know what they want to study.

• It will be easier for families to afford college

• Students enter the workforce quicker and/or go on sooner for graduate study.


•  An undergraduate’s social experience could be compromised.

•  College would tilt more toward job training and away from the broad-based education that many U.S. schools offer.

• Employers may then insist on a master’s before they employ anyone and this will increase the cost to students of the future.

• Parents will pressure their students to enter a 3 year program and then students will have a miserable time, taking an overload of courses, and missing the experience of college.

•  Students should enjoy these four years of freedom.  They have the rest of their lives to work.

From my experience as a college advisor, my thought is, if you’re smart and dedicated enough to graduate in 3 years, you can figure out how to do it on your own.   AP credits, summer courses, and college credits gained during high school can be used to reach this goal.  I work with a few high school freshmen now who are accumulating college credit. Their life goals may change in the next two years but the college credit can work favorable for them no matter what college or major they enter. I know more than a few students, including my sister, who graduated in three years or less without their colleges having to create a special program.

If you have any other college admissions questions for a college counselor, I’d be happy to answer them.  Please write me here or at my personal email which can be found on my International College Counselors college counseling website.


For the article that served as a basis for these college counselor thoughts, see:                                                   http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/22/AR2009052203681_Comments.html#

There are also concerns that a three year program might not be appropriate for at-risk students.

Christina Couch  writes at Bankrate.com in the article, Pros and cons of accelerated degree programs:

Greater risk to the at-risk

The economic reasons for shortening college tenure are strong. Not only knocking out a year of tuition, room and board — a value of anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 — they also reduce student loan interest and help students get a jump on paying their student loans back. The problem, says Karen Gross, president of Southern Vermont College in Bennington, Vt., is that the students most economically motivated to reduce their college costs are frequently the ones who need a four-year program the most.

“Many students come into college with certain academic deficiencies. There’s a fair amount of work that has to be done just to catch them up,” she says. “There are a subgroup of students from elite high schools for whom a three-year degree would be just fine. But that’s a very small percentage.”

Certain populations of students are more at-risk than others. Students from low-income, English as a second language and first-generation college backgrounds are less likely to complete a bachelor’s degree than other students.

“If you fit into any of these vulnerable populations, it doesn’t mean that you can’t graduate,” says Gross. “It just means that you are statistically at greater risk. You need to consider that.”
Trend on campus: three-year college degrees http://www.bankrate.com/finance/college-finance/pros-and-cons-of-accelerated-degree-programs-1.aspx#ixzz1yaNmMMdQ

Increasingly, the question is whether colleges are using the resources available to them effectively.

A principal reason for the rush toward three year programs is the cost of college. Robin Wilson wrote in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Colleges Spend Far Less on Educating Students Than They Claim, Report Says:

While universities routinely maintain that it costs them more to educate students than what students pay, a new report says exactly the opposite is true.

The report was released today by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, which is directed by Richard K. Vedder, an economist who is also an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a Chronicle blogger. It says student tuition payments actually subsidize university spending on things that are unrelated to classroom instruction, like research, and that universities unfairly inflate the stated cost of providing an education by counting unrelated spending into the mix of what it costs them to educate students.

“The authors find that many colleges and universities are paid more to provide an education than they spend providing one,” says a news release on the report, “Who Subsidizes Whom?”

The report’s authors used data from the U.S. Education Department’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, or Ipeds, to conclude that more than half of students attend institutions that take in more per student in tuition payments than what it actually costs them to deliver an education.

The chief reason universities inflate the figures on what they spend to educate students, says the report, is that institutions include all of their spending—whether it is directly related to instruction or not—when calculating what it costs them to provide an education. In reality, says the report, depending on the type of institution, it can cost universities much less to educate students than what the institutions bring in through tuition charges.

“This study finds that education and related spending is only a portion of many institutions’ budgets,” says a news release on the study, “and that many schools spend large amounts on things unrelated to educating students.”      http://chronicle.com/article/Colleges-Spend-Far-Less-on/127040/

The question lawmakers should be asking themselves is why society developed public universities and do those reasons still exist? In the rush to get past this moment in time lawmakers may be destroying the very economic engine, which would drive this country out of the economic famine that currently exists. While tuition is increased for students, the pay of college administrators remains hefty. Administrators are in effect pigs at the trough and should come under some scrutiny. Of course, if the current public universities were privatized, we wouldn’t have to worry about pigs still at the trough or would we? In a totally privatized university environment, administrators could be paid what the market will allow or the regents can go wink, wink at. Wait, wasn’t unfettered pay one element in the U.S. financial meltdown?


Choosing the right college for you                                                                  https://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/the-college-affordability-and-transparency-center/

Many U.S. colleges use the ‘Common Application’                                        https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/many-u-s-colleges-use-the-common-application/

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