A Unique Arizona Plan to Cut College Costs

With state universities overflowing with students and applicants maybe this will be the wave of the future….

The president-elect of the Arizona Board of Regents, just released a report that urges the state’s three public universities — University of Arizona, Arizona State and Northern Arizona University — to launch programs that would allow its students to spend three years at an Arizona community college before transferring.

These 3-1 programs would help relieve some of the overcrowding at Arizona’s four-year institutions. It would also shrink the cost of a bachelor’s degree. Tuition at Arizona community colleges is $2,200 versus around $6,800 at the state universities, which doesn’t count the bigger room-and-board expense.

According to the plan, the universities would only offer a 3-1 option to a few highly popular majors, such as education.

This Arizona proposal is part of a trend to keep students in community colleges longer as they work towards a bachelor’s degree. For instance, Miami Dade College, which is the largest institution of higher learning in the country,  happens to be a community college, but it is now offering a variety of low-cost bachelor’s degrees including those in law enforcement.

I think you will see more and more of this happening across the country as college costs makes the traditional route to a college degree impossible for many families.

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also write a college blog at CBSMoneyWatch.com.

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