As Ohio’s high school seniors are preparing for their summer and many cases college, traditional 4-year universities are looking at a budget proposal that will change the way they do business.
Getting a degree in three years means less time partying for many university students, but it may save them money. That’s never a bad thing, especially in a time of stretched resources.
One of the many policy changes pushed in Governor John Kasich’s budget is to create a “pathway” for students at higher education institutions to be able to get a four year degree in three years. This piece over at the Plain Dealer details what the idea means, though much has to still be fleshed out:
“As part of the governor’s commitment to make college more affordable, his budget proposal submitted to the legislature requires universities to prepare plans to offer three-year undergraduate degrees for 10 percent of their programs by 2012 and for 60 percent by 2014…
‘The vision for three-year degrees is focused on providing options for gifted or ambitious high school students to help drive down costs and keep these students challenged,’ regents spokesman Rob Evans said in an email.”
While students can already often graduate in three years, assuming they have access to things like AP courses, the idea of enshrining this across the board is new for Ohio.
Obviously, this will require paradigm shifts and innovation. Already, there are signs of this kind of thinking emerging.
According to the Dispatch, the Ohio State University and Columbus State have now formed an agreement to help students move between colleges.
“The Preferred Pathway Program, which launches this fall, is not your typical transfer agreement. It is designed to be seamless – students moving smoothly from Columbus State to OSU, free of much of the anxiety and complexity of changing schools.
Students start at Columbus State, and they can choose one of about 80 academic tracks that guarantee them admission to OSU, as long as they can meet academic requirements by their junior year.”
It is also important to recognize that moving more forcefully in this direction really can save a lot of money. While it may seem elementary to point out, the longer a student stays in school, the more they will have to pay.
The potential debt accumulated can easily become a burden weighing them down and may prevent them from having the kind of flexibility to adjust life plans or consider starting a business.
By increasing opportunities for students to move quickly through this system, the better it is for those students’ long-term financial outlook.