- The Progressive Policy Institute released a framework for how colleges and universities can develop three-year degree programs as a method of cutting costs and increasing opportunity for a majority of the nation's students.
- The report decries American higher education as an antiquated model with roots tracing back to the late 1800s, bloated with empty liberal arts requirements that don't help graduates secure work after graduation and with costs that cripple graduates for years.
- The report said that there are at least 32 institutions that offer three-year programs and more on the way. Many were launched between 2005 and 2012, with the exception of programs at Harvard University and Bates College, which were initiated in 1941 and 1965, respectively.
The three-year degree program may be well outside of the realm of possibility for many institutions, given most schools remain loyal to the ideas of residence halls and traditional teaching methods as the core of successful higher education. But smaller institutions may be forced soon to consider the options presented by shorter time to completion programs, as larger institutions with more resources are moving towards aligned forms of education.
Between competency-based education, for-profits offering students credit acquisition at their own pace, and potential limits on federal financial aid, most colleges and universities may be able to entice students with pathways for savings and faster degree attainment. But the other side of this option could mean potential layoffs for faculty members and staff, a greater need for student resources in academic services, and continuing need for financial aid support.