Opinion

Three-year degree programs economical and efficient

In an uncertain economy, tuition costs are an important factor in choosing a university. Undoubtedly for some, the University of Miami’s steep rates are a turn-off. But what if you could have your cake and eat it too, by graduating in just three years?

Institutions around the country are beginning to market three-year degree programs, and Miami should too. For example, students in the accelerated program at Hartwick College pay the same tuition as traditional four year students, but are able to take more classes each semester and graduate a year early. Not only is this a way to easily shear 25 percent of tuition costs, but it enables students to get into their field more quickly.

If such a program were put in place at Miami, students would not need to enroll in frivolous electives and prerequisites. They could take an increased number core classes as a freshman and save money in the meantime. For those looking to work in experience-based fields like communication and business, this extra step ahead could be invaluable.

However, it is also important to recognize the benefits of a well-rounded, four-year education. By taking “frivolous” electives, you allow yourself to time to mentally mature and to take classes that help to complete your schooling. Just because you know what you want to do with your life doesn’t mean you are there yet intellectually.

Nevertheless, the length of one’s college education really comes down to the bottom line: money. While it is possible to take on a heavier course load as a regular undergraduate, and graduate early on your own, it is an expensive endeavor. Creating a specialized three-year degree program would be an attractive economical option for undergraduates, and is a possibility the university should consider.

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November 9, 2009

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published in print every Tuesday.