In January, President Obama urged states to make college education a higher priority in his State of the Union Address
. He also pleaded with institutions of higher learning to control tuition inflation. However, the President did not define how states and colleges and universities could implement his call to action. Instead, he has left it up to them.
Whether or not the state legislature in Ohio is responding to President Obama’s pleas or those of its students, it is making great strides to lower the cost of college for its residents, the first state to actively do so.
According to Ohio University’s
school newspaper, The Post
, Ohio House Bill 153 is requiring all state colleges and universities to present a plan that makes three-year degree programs available for at least 10% of their programs. By June 2014, state schools must have a plan in place for 60% of their degree programs. The bill not only hopes to get students out into the workforce sooner but to cut down on the cost of college as well.
In a press release
from the Ohio Board of Regents, Jim Petro, Chancellor of the Board, stated, “Giving students the option of earning a bachelor’s degree in three years instead of four or more years will help them save money while encouraging the completion of their college education. Time can be the enemy of many students entering a college or university, and a shortened time frame to obtain the credit hours needed to earn their degree, in addition to the savings, will make these students available to employers more quickly.”
However, the changes do come at a price for students, though not necessarily in dollars. Ohio University’s newspaper
states that students will have to enter Ohio University with at least 30 semester credit hours, meaning high school students will either need to take more Advanced Placement
courses along with annual exams as well as postsecondary courses that count for college credit.
Though students participating in three-year degree programs would obviously be on campus for a shorter amount of time, it wouldn’t, by any means, limit their college experiences. In the Ohio Board of Regents press release
, Petro claimed that students would still be able to partake in dual-major programs, study abroad and internship opportunities.
Ohio is the first to implement a three-year degree track statewide, though there are schools all over the country that offer similar programs. No doubt that the rest of the country will be watching Ohio over the next few years to measure the success, or failure, of the mandated three-year degree programs.
Would you opt for a three-year degree over a four-year college experience? Why or why not?