More Colleges Consider 3-Year Degrees

As tuition rates rise and colleges become crowded with students, more and more schools are considering -- and touting, if they have them already -- three-year degree programs.

According to the Daily Illini, the University of Illinois is the latest college to investigate the value of a truncated college experience.

Inside Higher Ed
reports that many colleges currently offer students the chance to earn their degrees in less than four years, though not all of the programs are popular.

The University of Houston-Victoria, the University of Washington, Lipscomb University and a few others have introduced three-year degrees in the last year or so.

Maine's Bates College and Alabama's Judson College, among others, have for decades actively offered applicants and students guided paths toward earning their bachelor's degrees in three years, though relatively few students take that route.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has been an avid proponent of students spending less time earning their degree. As he wrote for Newsweek last year:

Expanding the three-year option or year-round schedules may be difficult, but it may be more palatable than asking Congress for additional bailout money, asking legislators for more state support, or asking students for even higher tuition payments. Campuses willing to adopt convenient schedules along with more-focused, less-expensive degrees may find that they have a competitive advantage in attracting bright, motivated students.

Lamar focused much his article on Hartwick College in upstate New York, where students who pursue a degree in three years save up to 25 percent in tuition costs.

What do you think? Should college 3 years? Or is that too short? Share your comments below.