Grace College & Seminary, Winona Lake, Ind., received some nice publicity from U.S. News & World Report for its new three-year degree program. Here is an excerpt. To read the entire article, click here.
Would you sacrifice part of the proverbial best four years of your life to cut costs?
Paying eight semesters’ worth of tuition, room and board, textbooks, and other fees can add up to tens of thousands of dollars—and that’s only if you finish college in four years. For about 60 percent of students, the college experience takes at least another semester before graduation.
[See which 10 schools have the highest graduation rates.]
But some schools offer or are planning to debut new, fast-track bachelor’s degree programs that only hit families’ wallets for three years.
In fall 2011, schools including Grace College and Seminary, Baldwin-Wallace College, Lesley University, and St. John’s University introduced three-year degree programs, according to a running list created by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). And the programs are increasingly being explored, both by prospective institutions and college-bound students and parents, says NAICU’s Director of Communications Tony Pals.
“The economic downturn has encouraged more students and families to consider the three-year option, and for academically well prepared and highly focused students, these programs can be very attractive,” Pals says. “These programs can represent a significant cost savings for consumers.”
In an effort to become more affordable, officials at Grace College originally toyed with discounting tuition, Provost William Katip says. But fearing that such a move may seem too “gimmicky,” Katip says the school instead revamped the curriculum and calendar to accommodate three-year graduation plans for its 50 undergraduate majors. For three years, students take more, short courses during the fall and spring semesters, and any credits taken in the summer are free (save for a $125 technology fee). Based on the school’s accounting, the plan can save students up to 50 percent on college, between costs they don’t pay and salaries they could begin to earn a year early.
“Twenty-five percent is saving a whole year right up front,” Katip figures. “The other 25 percent: Our annual tuition is very close to what our first-year graduates make. The fact is, you’re out working and you’ve got one year of earnings.” Students with financial need would also be spared a year of college loans, he adds.