College Education Concerns in the 21st Century
(c) M. Ryder
Unemployment has changed many a kitchen-table conversation about college. One of the best ways to ensure a job is to have a bachelor's degree. But a college education is now more difficult for many families to afford.
That means many students are on the prowl for bargain bachelor's degrees -- and some are finding them in nontraditional programs such as three-year bachelor's degree programs, online education, and work colleges.
College Degrees in Three Years
Over time, Americans have relaxed expectations that students will complete a bachelor's degree in four years. Because of the amount of remedial preparation many incoming college students need and the obstacles most families face in financing four consecutive years of college, many college students now take six years to graduate. "We in higher education have been so focused on that fraction of students not fully prepared to do college work that it seems natural for students to stay on longer than four years," says
Broad says she expects dozens of colleges to begin offering some bachelor's degrees in three years. She anticipates that trend to be strongest among private schools, where tuition is highest --
For three-year degrees to measure up, students must be willing to study year-round and faculties must be prepared to give fast-track students clear and regular counsel. The time is right to offer them this option, Broad says. "There are students who are ready now."
In a stroke of prescience,
While others are talking about three-year degrees,
An old idea is attracting new interest on seven campuses across the country where students work in return for waivers of tuition, room, board, and fees. That can mean zero debt at a time when the average student leaves campus owing
College, minus the frills. Even in the private-school universe,
Flynn said he was content with access to the main campus library and had little time for the gym and other extras, anyway.
Even before President
"The feedback we were getting from practicing engineers was: Why can't engineering be [taught] in the last two years like
When the transfers to four-year universities for upper-division classes work seamlessly, community colleges make bachelor's degrees affordable for millions of families. Since 2000, their enrollments have risen 30 percent. "All the evidence is that these students do just as well," says Broad, the
Online Universities and Colleges
The Web has become a national shopping mall for higher education, or so says
Phillips says 95 percent of online degrees are offered by nonprofits, a fact often lost in the aggressive marketing of the
What today's undergrads need to be learning for tomorrow's work, Broad says, are skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communicating, and working in teams. And expect that learning shouldn't end with a diploma. "No body of knowledge gained in four years will last a lifetime anymore," she says.
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- Unified Admissions, Affordable Loans and 'Gap Years' -- Might Help American Colleges
- SAT Offers Level Playing Field in College Admissions process
- Students are More than SAT Scores and Numbers in College Admissions Process
- Dreaded Financial Aid Form will be Easier to Fill Out Next Year
- Casting the Widest Possible Net: College Tuition Assistance & Financial Aid
- Serious Tracking to Hunt Down Cheapest Student Loans
- Calculating the Hidden Costs of College
- Regional Agreements allow Hefty Discount for Students from Nearby States
- The Real Secret of College Admissions
- Healthcare Giving Students Opportunity to Pay their Way through College
- Students & Professors use Twitter to Communicate Inside & Outside the Classroom
- Budget Cuts Hit Nation's Public Colleges Hard, Even as Demand for Well-educated Workforce Soars
- Women's Colleges have had to Broaden their Appeal and Support
- Best Tech for the Collegebound
(c) 2009 U.S. News & World Report