Condensed degree program offered in NY

  • Hartwick College is offering a three year bachelor's degree program that will allow students to save a significant amount of money
  • The program is an opportunity for students to save both time and money
  • Faculty and students are both in favor of the new program, as it will help people who may not be able to afford four years of college to get a good education

A New York college is instituting a new curriculum that will give qualifying students the option to save about $40,000 on their education.

Starting next fall, Hartwick College will begin a three-year bachelor's degree program. The program will allow students to complete the 120 credits required by the state without having to take summer school or online courses.

Francis Borrego, director of marketing and communications at Hartwick College, said one of the main reasons for the three-year degree is affordability.

"The middle class is being left out to afford higher education," Borrego said. "We're trying to keep costs down, and we just thought this is a good opportunity to come out with this program."

Borrego said students in the three-year program will have priority when registering for classes so they can get the classes they need to graduate in three years. Students will also receive special academic advising to help keep them on track.

"You can also come in as an undecided the way everything is structured," he said. "We have 22 of our 31 programs participating, and by the summer we will probably have more."

To get into the program, students are required to have at least a 3.0 GPA, whether they are applying directly from high school or already attend Hartwick.

Including room and board, Hartwick is about $40,000 per year, so graduating a year early would save students this expense.

The program is not for those with a weak work ethic though, as students will take 18 credits every spring and fall semester and four credits every January term.

"The program is not geared toward everybody," he said. "It is geared more toward the students that are motivated and are really going to be focused."

Undergraduate students planning on attending graduate school stand to benefit as well.

"The students who it is really appealing to are the ones who really know they are going to graduate school," he said. "They know they are going to be in school for five or six years, so this really helps reduce the time they are going to be in school, as well as the costs."

Reid Golden, a professor of sociology at Hartwick, said the program was considered in 1998, though nothing came from it. When the economic crisis emerged earlier this year, he and Cherilyn Lacy, a professor of history, thought it was an appropriate time to reintroduce the concept.

"We put it together," Golden said. "We surveyed the faculty chairs to see what departments would do it, and then we pushed forward with the college."

Support for the program has been very strong.

"There was a strong endorsement by the faculty, and student support has been strong," Golden said. "There are a number of students who have come out very much in favor of it.

Nick Forst, president of Hartwick's Student Senate, said he thinks the program is a very good idea.

"The students, I think, are very much in support of it," Forst said. "Obviously, it gives an economic advantage to students who couldn't really afford four years, so it is a great thing to offer students who want to take a hold of that."

Forst said there was just one concern the student government originally had.

"One thing that did concern us was students' ability to get involved with organizations," he said. "However, we feel students in the program would either be so committed to academics that they would be able to balance that with having extracurriculars or would be so committed to academics that they would not be as involved as other students."

While many people may see this as a solution to help people get through financially difficult times, Golden insists that this should be seen in a larger context.

"When the economic crisis goes away, we're not going to take (the three-year bachelor's degree program) away," Golden said. "This is a long-term solution to the rising cost of higher education."