Amid a growing trend of small schools adopting three-year bachelor’s programs throughout the country, the UC Commission on the Future is considering adopting a fast-track degree. The UC system should absolutely implement a three-year bachelor’s degree program because it benefits all parties involved.
In order to graduate a year early, such a program would provide participating students with priority registration and special counseling to expedite the process. This would work because students would be required to take courses over the summer. Similar programs also grant “academically gifted” students the privilege of skipping some introductory classes.
The commission said that the program would provide cheaper education for participating students. Rather than pay for four years of a UC education, the students would only have to pay for three, significantly reducing their financial burden. Another positive is that the university could educate an estimated 2,000 to 4,000 more students if the program were adopted.
However, what prevents students from enrolling in the program just for priority registration if they have no intention of graduating in three years? In order for the program to work, a set of standards would have to be in place to ensure students remain on a track that requires them to graduate in the allotted time.
Another potential flaw is that the program would not be realistic for everybody. While a three-year bachelor’s program would be feasible for a student with a lower unit requirement, it would probably be too much for those with a heavier course load.
If these issues are addressed, a three-year bachelor’s program should be implemented for the UC system in order to cut student fees and increase undergraduate turnover.