WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University officials have announced a new initiative for liberal arts students that would allow them to complete their bachelor’s degrees in three years.
It’s called the “Degree in 3” initiative.
“The notion that it requires four years to complete an undergraduate degree is really little more than a matter of tradition, a uniquely American tradition,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels.
All 10 academic schools and departments within the liberal arts college are offering majors that can be finished in three years. About 23 of the 43 bachelor of arts degrees are available in the accelerated format. Degrees include law and society, political science and sociology.
The bachelor of fine arts degree won’t have the accelerated option because of additional credit requirements.
Dean of Liberal Arts David Reingold said he liked the initiative because it allows students to move into their careers faster and save a year’s worth of tuition.
The university estimates resident students will save more than $9,000, while nonresident and international students will save more than $18,000.
About 85 percent of incoming students in the liberal arts college will be eligible to begin pursuing the degree path this fall.
Reingold said the program won’t be a good fit for everyone because students will be in school year-round in order to complete the required 120 credit hours.
“This is not for the faint of heart,” Reingold said. “It will be challenging. To assist these students, we will offer an exclusive learning community and targeted academic advising support.”
Daniels pitched the idea for three-year degrees in 2014 by challenging the schools to submit proposals for three-year programs. He awarded the College of Liberal Arts’ Brian Lamb School of Communication $500,000 for its proposal.
Many liberal arts colleges have seen declining enrollment in recent years, Reingold said.
Purdue’s liberal arts college had about 2,300 undergraduates enrolled in the program this spring, compared to more than 6,100 undergraduates enrolled in spring 2010.
University officials hope the new accelerated degree initiative will attract new students.
“We think it’s absolutely going to be part of us rebuilding some of the enrollment losses we have experienced,” Reingold said.