In rolling out an ambitious higher education plan this month, Hillary Clinton put a genuine national dilemma — America’s ballooning student debt crisis — at the center of the 2016 debate. What a refreshing contrast to her Republican opponents.
Clinton’s “New College Compact” is a big, multifaceted plan to take the debt monkey off the backs of millennials who attend public universities. But one thing it is not is cheap — the price tag is $350 billion. And it does not do enough to rein in college tuition costs, much less roll them back.
So let us offer a friendly amendment that would do just that and thereby complement Clinton’s otherwise creative proposal. Our suggestion? The three-year college degree.
Three-year colleges are the norm in many European countries, and a few enterprising universities here have begun to follow suit. We propose requiring any U.S. college or university with students who receive any type of federal student aid to offer the option of earning a bachelor’s degree in three years.
While some schools might be tempted to squeeze a four-year degree into three years, that approach would be unwise, given that the majority of today’s college students need six years to complete a bachelors.
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