dcsimg
You are here:

The Three-Year Plan: Getting More Bang For Your College Buck

Between a downturned economy and the rising costs of college, everyone's looking for a way to cut their spending and minimize debt. For some students, that means putting college dreams on hold for a while while they work to save money; for other students, it's the other way around. The average student takes a whopping six years to complete a "four year" bachelor degree at a public university, yet according to Associated Press, an emerging trend is to cut that time in half.

Nina Xue, one student interviewed, managed in three years' time to earn a double-bachelor degree in French and History, while still finding time for extracurricular activities like cheerleading. She states that, for her, a three-year degree wasn't the original plan but saving on finances was a great deciding factor once she discovered that previous AP course credits had made it an option. "I didn't think it was worth it to pay another $40,000 to play with my friends for another year, cheer for a year, and write a thesis," she says. "Making my parents pay for another year of school would not have been fair." Now, instead of struggling through senior year in undergrad, she is already looking ahead to law school. Meanwhile Charles Jacobson, another student interviewed, relied not on AP courses from high school but on careful planning. "Halfway through my freshman year, I had all my courses planned out," he says.

When it comes to professors' and professionals' opinions on an accelerated college experience, the jury is still out. According to the article, Senator Lamar Alexander, a former education secretary and college president, praised three-year degree programs as "the higher-education equivalent of a fuel efficient car" at the annual American Council of Education meeting this past February. Some critics, however, warn that if done too hastily, "shaving the fourth year off college could limit a student's social experience and provide a narrower education."

After all, it isn't an easy endeavor completing a bachelor degree in three years: it takes a clear vision and a single-minded dedication. Many online colleges are starting to offer special accelerated programs promising degrees in less time, but with traditional schools, this kind of success often lies in planning that dates back to high school, racking up extra credits with AP courses and summer school sessions at community college. That said, it can be done and many students are aiming to save thousands of dollars on tuition costs by making it a reality.

Search Schools

      
Matching School Ads
  • Colorado Technical University Online

    A degree from CTU connects you to what matters most: powerful professional network, real-world professional faculty and innovative technology. Once you earn your degree you hit the ground running.

    Programs

    • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN completion)
    • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Management
    • Master of Science in Information Technology - Network Management
    • More...
    Location:
    Colorado Springs: 4435 North Chestnut Street, Colorado Springs CO 80907
    Colorado Technical University Online Request Info »
  • Regent University

    Regent University prepares students with the knowledge to excel and the faith to live with purpose.

    Programs

    • Master of Arts in Law - Non-Profit Management
    • Bachelor of Arts in English - Self-Designed
    • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Regent University Request Info »
  • Miller-Motte College

    Start the next chapter of your life with an Associate or Bachelor degree from Miller-Motte College Online Division.

    Programs

    • Criminal Justice - Associate of Applied Science
    • Electronic Medical Records - Associate of Applied Science
    • IT Support Specialist - Associate of Applied Science
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Miller-Motte College Request Info »
  • Liberty University

    100% Online & No Standardized Testing

    Programs

    • Doctor of Education: Community Care & Counseling: Marriage & Family
    • Doctor of Ministry: Evangelism & Church Planting
    • M.Div: Homiletics
    • More...
    Location:
    Lynchburg: 1971 University Blvd,, Lynchburg VA 24515
    Liberty University Request Info »
  • Adventist University of Health Sciences

    Must be currently registered with AART or NMTCB to qualify!

    Programs

    • Online Master of Healthcare Administration in Strategy and Innovation
    • Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences
    • Online Executive Master of Healthcare Administration
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Adventist University of Health Sciences Request Info »
  • Keiser University

    Since 1977, Keiser University has provided quality student-centered, career-focused education.

    Programs

    • Master of Science in Psychology
    • Education Specialist in Instructional Design and Technology
    • Master of Science in Education
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Keiser University Request Info »
  • University of San Francisco

    If you want to make the world a better place, start at the University of San Francisco. Our 21st-century mission to create a more humane and just world comes alive in our diverse learning community and is broadened by our global orientation. You are challenged to reach higher standards and to use your education to promote justice and serve the common good. At the University of San Francisco, youll find the excellence inherent in an institution established over 150 years ago, and inherent in nearly five centuries of Jesuit education.

    Programs

    • Online Associate Degree to Master Degree Nursing program
    • Online Bachelor Degree to Master Degree Nursing program
    • Master of Public Administration
    Location:
    San Francisco: 2130 Fulton St, , San Francisco CA
    University of San Francisco Request Info »
  • Capella University

    An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession.

    Programs

    • MSN - RN-to-MSN Care Coordination (CCNE-accredited)
    • BS - Human Resource Management (ACBSP-accredited)
    • MS - Addiction Studies
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Capella University Request Info »
  • Simmons College School of Social Work

    SocialWork@Simmons is an innovative, online Master of Social Work program offered through the Simmons School of SocialWork, the nation’s oldest school of social work. Complete your MSW in as little as 15 months with this CSWE-accredited program. No GRE required.

    Programs

    • Master of Social Work
    Location:
    Boston: 300 The Fenway, Boston MA 02115
    Simmons College School of Social Work Request Info »
  • Rutgers Business School

    A Rutgers business education prepares students for success – not just in their chosen fields but also in their lives.

    Programs

    • Online MS in Supply Chain Management
    • Master of Governmental Accounting (Online)

    Location: Online

    Rutgers Business School Request Info »
  • Matching School Ads

    Quick School Search

    College & Career Search Tools

    • Careers: Unsure about your career path? Study profiles of hundreds of professions.

    • Interviews: Professors and deans sit down with our team to give you unique insights on college life.

    • Military Education: Find only Military friendly online schools and campuses.

    • Student Reviews: Know before you go. Read student reviews on over 2000 accredited colleges. Write your own experience.