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Beyond the News

One and Done

University Business, December 2012

While community colleges are supposed to be two-year institutions, many students take longer than that to graduate. Some four-year institutions, meanwhile, allow ambitious students to earn a bachelor’s degree in three years. Pima Community College (Ariz.) has come up with a new twist to the accelerated degree trend, giving East Campus students enrolling in the Sprint Schedule pilot program the chance to be done in just one. 

Students would take 23 credits in the fall and spring semesters, plus 15 credits during the summer semester through a combination of traditional and online classes and graduate with an associate in liberal arts degree. Careful scheduling is making the program possible. The main benefit is allowing students to move on to a BA program or the workforce faster. Also, the Sprint Schedule would cut costs associated with attending college, such as transportation and daycare. The institution recommends setting a goal of having no more than two days per week on campus.

“Community colleges have traditionally sought new and innovative ways to serve their large and highly diverse student population,” says Norma Kent, senior vice president for communications and advancement at the American Association of Community Colleges. “This new pilot puts Pima Community College in the vanguard of providing learning options that increase student access and also support the completion agenda that is a priority of community colleges around the country.