On September 10th, University of Iowa President Sally Mason announced an ambitious proposal to the Iowa Board of Regents that would offer three-year bachelor’s degree programs to Iowa students. These new options would be available to students who would begin their studies at the University of Iowa in the fall of 2015.
According to Lin Larson of Iowa Now, the university’s newspaper, the three-year program would require the same number of credits as a four-year degree, but would offer advising and plans of study that will help students fill their requirements at a more rapid pace. One of its primary objectives would be to help students graduate with less debt, something that is incredibly appealing for many college applicants.
The proposal for a three-year degree program would include a summer session, which would allow University of Iowa students to utilize the Summer Hawk Tuition Grant. The Summer Hawk Tuition Grant is automatically available to all first-year, first-time students and offsets tuition costs for up to 12 credit hours during one summer session; out-of-state students with at least 4 credit hours receive the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition.
This proposal announcement coincides with university efforts to create more 5-year master’s degree programs; a 5-year program in computer science is already available at the University of Iowa, but the institution hopes to expand its offerings. The proposal also comes one day after Iowa Governor Terry Branstad made proposals at Iowa State University to make higher education more affordable in Iowa, calling for a fixed $10,000 price on popular majors for in-state students at Iowa’s three public universities.
A three-year bachelor’s degree program could be a desirable option for students. College students already pay a crippling amount of money in student loans each year. In fact, according to CNN Money, the national average of student loans for student leaving college in 2012 was roughly $29,400 per student—this average has not decreased.
What do you think about this three-year bachelor’s program?