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U. of Missouri Ponders Three-Year Degrees U. of Missouri Ponders Three-Year Degrees

U. of Missouri Ponders Three-Year Degrees

by Nikhil Swaminathan
December 10, 2009

In a town hall meeting that included students, faculty and campus employees, University of Missouri President Gary Forsee floated the idea of a so-called "no-frills degree." The four-campus university system is merely musing about the idea of adding a three-year degree option as a means of saving some costs, says an AP report. The governor of Missouri announced earlier this year that he was trimming the schools' budgets by a total of $50 million.European schools already churn out graduates in three years, and a tiny minority of American universities, such as Bates College in Maine, Ball State University in Indiana, Hartwick College in upstate New York, and Lipscomb University in Tennessee, are already experimenting with it.In a piece in Newsweek, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), former education secretary under George H.W. Bush, former president of the University of Tennessee, and former Tennessee governor, wrote about the advantages of shifting to a three-year system. Students can save up to 25 percent in tuition costs. The university saves some costs, as well, and can use more of its resources year-round (since a summer or two is usually required); a former president of George Washington University in Virginia estimates that the vast facilities of a college go unused for half of the year.Of course, that may mean more work for the faculty and less revenue for the school, as an emeritus professor of Harvard told The Washington Post. Also, there are arguments about the "college experience" getting shortchanged by being cut by 25 percent.Is this as a viable way to save costs for schools? If you could go back and do it again, would a shorter, more intense college experience appeal to you?
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