Monday, January 13, 2014

Why a 3-year program?

Why are we attempting to compress a rigorous bachelor's degree program into three years?

Isn't a more appropriate question, why are we talking about 6-years as an acceptable time-frame for earning a Bachelor’s degree? Even at 6-years, the national average graduation rate hovers somewhere around only 54%. There are many valid and not-so-valid reasons given for these low 6-year graduation rates – need for remediation in math and English before enrolling in college-level courses, students working while in school to cover rising tuition costs, confusing course pathways, along with a host of other challenges.

We know we can do better. We have to do better. While we don’t have a silver-bullet solution for all of higher education, we believe that for some institutions and some students, a 3-year program is one way to effectively address many of these obstacles. The reduced time-to-graduation means lower tuition costs and earlier entry to the workforce for students. The partnership between a community college and university eases the transition from high school to college and provides cost savings for tuition and living expenses. The accelerated pace keeps students focused on a prescribed year-round pathway. And, the support structure built around the program promotes a cohort learning community, professional and life skills development, and academic progress tracking.

In addition to serving students in the 3-year program, CSIT-In-3 will help us evaluate our traditional Bachelor’s degree programs in order to find ways to decrease time to degree and increase graduation rates.

Our claim is that it is possible to graduate students in as little as 3-years, not only without compromising quality, but with improved quality.