There is an effort underway by Ohio....to develop and offer....three-year college degrees. Basically, it'd be a bachelor's degree.
The general concept? What they'd like to do is develop some relationship within the high school sector, and in that last year or two of high school....you'd do a couple of classes which lead to some method of testing and thus granted college credit. The added reasoning to the project? You'd cut out the costs of one entire year of college. Figure that to be $15,000 that you won't have to borrow or pay-back.
Natural boundaries to this? Yes. Some folks don't want to consider it the equal of the current four-year program. Added to the anti-pitch....there are the professors in various colleges who would be in lesser demand....so the pay deal and seniority would all be called into question once kids got firmly into the three-year program. You'd threaten the general business plan of most American colleges.
At some point around the fifth year of my Air Force period....someone convinced me to sign up for Dantes testing at the base education center. For each test you pass....you get three semester hours (one core class) of credit. So over the course of one year.....I took around twenty tests. I admit...other than the general math test (three hours of study over a weekend).....I never put any study efforts into the twenty tests.
I passed roughly ten Dantes and CLEP tests....figuring roughly thirty-six hours of total credit....equaling one entire year of college. Just by watching Lawrence of Arabia and having read sixty pages of some text over a month....I passed the Middle Eastern history test. The Vietnam War Dantes test was a breeze.
After finishing these....all free via the Air Force.....I started to wonder why Alabama hadn't offered these type tests to me back when I was sixteen and seventeen.
It's the same way with these various class modules you have today....via distance learning. I could have probably taken two or three classes over the last two years of high school, and gotten college credit for that.
The college business cycle? It's corrupted.
Let's be totally honest....if you are going after a four-year degree in business management....you have zero need to take any science-related classes or history-related classes. If you were going after an electrical-engineering degree, you have zero need for biology classes or foreign-language classes. If you wanted a four-year degree in French art.....why the heck would you take any science classes?
At some point in the 1800s.....most American universities went to a standard of four years equaling a bachelor's degree. We can kinda admit today....that you basically ended up getting a plain-vanilla bachelor's degree up until the Civil War era. By 1900, there were probably a dozen related degrees that you could get with big-name colleges on the east coast.
As much as they say they are a public-learning institution....non-profit in some sort of way.....it's basically a Wal-Mart style atmosphere where you say you want such-and-such degree, they hire up professors to teach it.....and then figure in some NCAA football action, heavy drinking and partying, and then "gift" you a degree by the end of four years (unless you really screw up).
I worked with a guy once who spent five years at some college in Florida. The entire second year was a wash-out and he kinda admitted that he remembers almost nothing of the nine-month period, having been drunk or doped up for the whole time. He left at some point, went into a six-week rehab program....got waivered to come back to the college (naturally, they wanted his dad's money), and finished up his degree.
I asked how he slide so far, and he admitted that everything in that first eighteen months was fairly boring, stale, and a repeat of the last year or two of high school. He took to partying and rarely put any effort into any classes. After rehab, he refocused himself....took higher advanced classes, got challenged, and easily graduated.
While colleges will tell you that kids are arriving unprepared for the first year of study, and marginally show any skills from the 12th grade of high school.....I'd suggest that most colleges have lowered their expectations enough now....that the first year of college is really a standard high-school year. The sad thing is that you are paying $12,000 to $20,000 to repeat high school for that year and get yourself into shape to attend real college....in the second year.
So, I'm kinda for the three-year degree. In fact, I'm all for wrapping up high school by the end of the tenth grade and offering you a simple test to conclude that part of your education in life. It'll probably never happen, but we said that three-year degrees would never happen, and something came to change that logic.