To college or not to college — it’s an important question for all millennials and entrepreneurs of a certain age.
On the one hand, while there are the usual arguments for going for that four-year degree, such as the ones Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton gave to NextShark late last year, data has also indicated that college degrees might not be worth it. Millennials, after all, are just plain poor. Plus, we always hear stories about entrepreneurs skipping college, diving into their ventures headfirst and hitting it big — a monster truck-driving 20-year-old Chinese factory owner couldn’t be wrong, after all.
Well, there might be a solution to please everyone, and while it’s radical, it’s also pretty simple at the same time — the three-year degree.
Johns Hopkins University professor Paul Weinstein advocates for a three-year bachelor’s degree in the latest edition of the Progressive Policy Institute. In his paper, Weinstein writes:
“The costs of postsecondary education are now higher in the United States than anywhere else in the world, and they are mounting beyond the reach of average American families.
“As a result of exponential increases in tuition and fees, student loan debt has skyrocketed, tripling since 2004 to $1.1 trillion and surpassing both outstanding auto and credit card debt in the United States. This level of debt seriously threatens the long-term viability of the U.S. economy, as fewer college graduates will be able to buy a home (and those that can will most likely delay), save adequately for retirement, or afford to send their own children to college.”
Weinstein says that the three-year degree will result in a 25% cut in tuition and fees — from an average of $35,572 down to $26,679. As well, transitioning to three-year degrees means more students in college, since lower income families would be better able to afford a complete post-secondary education. More students, in turn, would also mean more revenue for those colleges.
Bates College, Wesleyan College and St. Johns University already offer three-year degrees, and many European countries have transitioned to three-year bachelors and one-year masters degrees. According to the National Assn. of Independent Colleges and Universities, 22 private colleges have begun offering three-year degrees in the last five years.