2/10/2010 - Three-year program cited as model for other institutions
Judson Spotlight On
Three-Year Program Cited as Model for Other Institutions
Judson College's three-year degree program was recently cited as a worthy model on "Masslive.com," a Springfield news site for western Massachusetts.
According to the story, college costs have risen to the point of being out of reach for many, especially so when typical undergraduate students now take more than six years to complete their degree program.
"The New York Times" reported last year that Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, who served as president of the University of Tennessee and later as education secretary in the George H.W. Bush administration, is a proponent of the three-year option. He called it the "higher education equivalent of a fuel-efficient car."
Judson College has offered the three-year option for more than 40 years.
College registrar Eleanor Drake said probably one-third of Judson students take advantage of the program.
"Our majors are possible to do in three years with the exception of education," Drake said. "The program is regaining popularity and many find it very do-able."
According to the college catalogue, students can attend Judson's "short term" in May and June to lighten their class load during the fall and spring semesters or to advance in their accumulation of hours needed for graduation, making the three-year option possible. Students may take up to 10 hours in each short term.
Judson admission representative Stacy Lawton said the three-year program is often a strong selling-point when she speaks to prospective students.
"Most students are intrigued about it since spending less time and less money is appealing," Lawton said.
Lawton noted another advantage for students who don't opt for the three year program. Attending the short term each year makes a three-and-one-half year program possible, allowing students to complete graduation requirements in December of their final year.
Judson freshman Jana Propst of Smiths, Ala., a double major in foreign languages and French art history, has elected to do the three-year program for several reasons.
"There is a financial reason," she said. "I have a PACT (Alabama's pre-paid tuition program), but I used it to take community college courses while in high school, so my funds will run out in two years. I also see value in finishing my studies early and getting a head start on a job or a master's degree."
Propst said her third reason is because her sister, Polly Ann, a 2002 Judson graduate, completed her degree in three years. Polly Ann is the Spanish instructor at Glenwood High School in Phenix City, Ala., where the younger Propst graduated last spring.
Judson's director of financial aid, Doris Wilson, said that there is an economic advantage to the college's short term schedule whether the student is in the three-year program or not.
"Students who are full-time and in the residence hall in the fall and spring semesters can attend short term tuition-free," she said. "They're required to be residential students during the May and June term to have the tuition-free option. So a student can earn the equivalent of a full year's class load without tuition costs."
Wilson said that Judson's sister Baptist school, Carson Newman College near Knoxville--her daughter Caroline Chiang's alma mater--is in process of inaugurating a three-year option.
* Article courtesy of the Judson College Public Relations Department.