National trend - getting your degree in three, not four, years

Mount Olive College has figured out a way to save its students a cool $22,000: get them a degree in three years.

The small private college of 800 students in Wayne County is the first in North Carolina to latch onto a burgeoning national trend toward the three-year bachelor's degree.

It is an idea spurred by necessity: with more college students and their families struggling to pay tuition bills, universities have looked for ways to deliver their product more quickly and affordably. The three-year model has gained momentum in the past year, with a handful of small, private colleges unveiling programs of late.

But the three-year plan is not for everyone. At Mount Olive, President Philip Kerstetter thinks the new program would appeal to maybe 5 percent of his student body. That's 40 students who would need to know precisely what they want from the first day of college. They need to enter college with plenty of advanced placement credits from high school and the ability to shoulder a course load of up to 24 credit hours per semester. They'd also need at least a 3.5 grade point average in high school to be eligible.

Read the complete story at