Graduating In 3 Years Gains Popularity

Ann McClure's picture
Thursday, July 12, 2012

As students struggle to get their degrees in four years, a small but growing percentage of Wisconsin college students get their degrees in just three years.

As the cost of going to school rises, the idea of saving one year of tuition and potentially replacing it with a year of wages is an enticing one. However, graduating in three years requires a different approach to the college experience, including taking summer classes as opposed to pursuing internships or opportunities to study abroad.

Across the entire UW System, less than 1% of students graduate in three years, but there has been an upward trend in the data, according to UW System spokesman David Giroux.

One state school, UW-Stout, introduced a three-year degree guarantee. Students sign a contract stating that if they follow certain guidelines and meet the proper criteria, they will be able to graduate in three years. If the student is unable to graduate because a course is unavailable, the university will work with the student to find a substitute course or pick up the tab for classes taken after the three-year time frame.

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