FGCU board to consider idea of offering three-year degrees

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FORT MYERS, Fla.- Students at Florida Gulf Coast University may soon have the option to graduate early. Next week, a trustee is presenting the idea of offering a three-year degree program to board members.

More universities and colleges are exploring options to keep tuition costs lower. According to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, at least 22 private colleges around the country have offered three-year degree programs.

Emanuela Beaucejour was one of many high school students touring the FGCU campus today.

“We’re just here to walk around the college campus and just have them talk to us about the campus life and how much they’re paying here,” she said.

Beaucejour said, while a three-year college experience isn’t attractive to her, she can see why some students would pick that option.

“I guess that it would save money; that’s for sure,” she said. “But I would just do the whole four years, the whole tuition.”

Cassidy Sanders, a senior at FGCU who is also looking at paying for grad school, says she wishes it had been an option when she enrolled.

“I think a lot of students would be interested in a three-year degree as long as it still looked the same on your diploma,” Sanders said. “If it’s going to affect you being able to go to grad school and get into jobs when you do finish, then I don’t know if it would be as great of an option.”

Colleges that offer the three-year degree say students can save between $9,000-$14,000. Still, some say the four-year college experience is irreplaceable.

“I think some students might like that option,” said FGCU Junior, Amy Walker, “but personally for me, I’ve learned a lot here in my past three years here, and I know I still have a lot to learn so I like the four year degree.”

There are no immediate plans to offer the three-year degree at FGCU, but next week board members are presenting the idea for future discussion.

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