College in 3? Few choose fast track

The three-year bachelor’s degree isn’t catching on, despite soaring college costs and high school graduates with lots of AP credits, reports  the Washington Post.

“A lot of students are interested in it,” said Dave McFadden, executive vice president of Manchester College. “A smaller number of students sign up for it, and an even smaller number finish it.”

Completing in three requires students to pick a major immediately, pass up irrelevant electives, extracurriculars and junior year abroad and study when others are partying. Students say they’d rather enjoy the college experience then get into the job market a year early with less debt, the Post reports.

Motivated students with lots of AP credits can complete a bachelor’s degree in three years without signing up for a special program. They just do it. Some stay for four years and add a master’s degree. But these are excellent students who know exactly where they’re going.

CNN Money charts the growth in tuition vs. income. Four (or five or six) years of college is a luxury item. Costs are much higher for those who don’t live at home.

As portrayed on the left axis, median income has hovered around $33,000 since 1988. Meanwhile, college tuition and fees -- portrayed on the right axis -- have more than doubled.

As portrayed on the left axis, median income has hovered around $33,000 since 1988. Meanwhile, college tuition and fees — portrayed on the right axis — have more than doubled.

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Comments

  1. I don’t know what degrees these kids are getting, but the engineering degree I got in 1979 couldn’t possibly have been completed in three years. I had to test out of freshman english and calculus and take two sessions of summer school to make it in four years. Even with that i had some 19-hour semesters.

    Do degrees require fewer hours now?

  2. Any legitimate degree will require the following minimum number of hours:

    Associate’s (60-64 credit hours) with 62 being the norm
    Bachelor’s (120-132 credit hours (with 124-128 being the norm)
    Master’s (30-32 credit hours, including thesis (written or project option)).
    Ph.D (30-32 credit hours, including thesis (written or project option)).

    Now, students can earn credits via AP or IB (high school), CLEP (max of 30 credit hours), and various other ways of earning credit, including verifiable work experience in field specific areas (usually a max of 15 credit hours per degree program).

    So there are numerous ways to earn credits for coursework.

    However, you should listen to what John Stossel and others have to say in this youtube link “Is college a ripoff?”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVz-HqwOuyo (runs about 7.5 minutes).

    Given the cost of college, sounds like a ripoff to me.

  3. “I don’t know what degrees these kids are getting, but the engineering degree I got in 1979 couldn’t possibly have been completed in three years. ”

    Ditto. My engineering degree was in 1999 and I might have been able to do it in three and half, but definitely not three. We did have a program where you could go all the way through your masters in 5 though.

  4. Mark Roulo says:

    I could have gotten my BS in chemistry in 3 years and 1 quarter back in 1989 if I hadn’t screwed up one quarter of my freshman year. This was without taking more than 16 units/quarter because I transfered in so many units. I graduated from a UC, so I don’t think I got a watered down degree.

    Engineering would be very tough today, as it is close to a five year degree already, but most of the other degrees should be doable in 3 with enough transfer units. Most kids won’t have them, but some will ( and probably more than when I was going to school).