Examining the Three-Year Undergraduate Degree as an Effective Tool in Reducing the National Average of Student Debt
Smoak, Sebastian N.
MetadataShow full item record
The current state of student debt in the United States has reached untenable levels, quickly outpacing inflation and having surpassed total credit card debt for the US in 2014. While many politicians and advocacy groups have identified the need to quickly reduce student debt, little action has been taken to substantively reduce the burden of rising tuition costs for students and their families. A variety of individual politicians have championed the use of the three year degree to reduce the opportunity cost of attending a fourth year of university, referencing the Bologna process that has largely been proven as an effective tool to standardize university requirements while producing a quality undergraduate education. While the European community has proven that a three-year Bachelor’s track is possible, there is little evidence to suggest that a change to this program of instruction will result in a reduced financial burden for students in the United States. By researching the existing standards, costs, and requirements associated with a traditional undergraduate degree in the United States, employing financial forecast models, and providing an in-depth analysis of both the current policy and political climates, the efficiency of a three-year educational model for Bachelor’s degrees becomes increasingly appealing as the primary tool for reducing tuition costs, and, therefore, the national average of student debt. The cost benefits of employing a three-year Bachelor’s program are overwhelming, but the political climate for the development and growth of such a policy is stagnate and currently inhospitable. This work seeks to provide recommendations to ensure the successful implementation of the three-year undergraduate program, considering the existing political climate.