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Three-year bachelor无毛视频檚 degrees an idea worth pursuing

3 min read

Higher education has taken quite a beating lately.

Lawmakers have been going after administrators and faculty at high-profile institutions over Gaza protests and diversity initiatives. Students and parents are getting increasingly impatient with rising costs. Faculty are disgruntled in many places over tight budgets and a lack of job and tenure opportunities. Administrators fret about demographics that could lead to fewer and fewer students being in the shiny, state-of-the-art student centers and dormitories that have been built in recent years.

Is there anybody out there happy with the state of higher education? Anybody?

It’s not to the point of mobs with torches and pitchforks yet. But we could be getting there before too much longer. That’s why it’s necessary for some innovation.

And at least one innovative idea is floating around in academic circles – a three-year bachelor’s degree.

Leaders at some colleges and universities in the United States are toying with reducing the number of credit hours required for some programs from the typical 120 hours of credit to 90 hours so students can complete a bachelor’s degree in three years and still be able to participate in extracurricular activities and enjoy other aspects of college life. Its supporters say it would save students money and get them into the “real world” of the job market more quickly.

It also would increase completion rates, because fewer than half of those seeking a bachelor’s degree complete it within four years.

On the other hand, opponents argue that slimming down a four-year degree to three would short-change students, create a two-tier system, with wealthier students able to get the higher-grade credential of a four-year degree, and it would rob students of the opportunity to broaden their horizons by taking courses outside their major and their interests.

There are some merits to those arguments. Perhaps the best way to approach it would be to slim down degrees in specific areas, such as nursing or law enforcement, and keep the four-year requirement in other fields. There is also a counterargument to be had about whether the required courses students must tackle at some schools are really necessary – does an English major really need to slog through an advanced math course, for instance?

Some states have launched pilot programs at some of their universities to try a three-year bachelor’s degree, and others have had to out of necessity. Lori Lombard, who chairs the Department of Communication Disorders, Special Education and Disability Services at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, told the online publication Inside Higher Ed last year that her program was reduced from four years to three due to faculty reductions.

“We took credits away from ourselves and added credits for other disciplines,” she said.

Administrators and lawmakers should be keeping a close watch on how three-year bachelor’s degree programs do in other places and if they succeed there, bring them to Pennsylvania. England and France are among the European nations that only require three years for a bachelor’s degree, and there’s no reason for us to stick with it just because that’s the way it’s always been done.

“The 120-hour degree is codified by tradition,” Chris Hopey, the president of Merrimack College in Massachusetts, told Inside Higher Ed. “That’s all it is.”

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