Three years is unrealistic

The Ohio Board of Regents is asking universities to determine which programs could be completed in three years.

Most policies look good on paper, and this one is no different.

However, we know that the average YSU student earns a bachelor’s degree in 6.28 years, according to institutional research.

We know that our economy is down: The national unemployment rate has doubled in the last 10 years, and Youngstown leads the nation with nearly 50 percent of residents living in poverty, according to a recent study by the Brookings Institution.

And we know that some students graduating from YSU are not finding jobs in their field.

“The call for a three-year degree program is swimming upstream against the tide,” Dean Shearle Furnish said, hitting the nail on the head.

“[Students are] going to have to make sacrifices,” said Charles Singler, interim associate provost.

Singler added that students enrolled in a three-year program would be forced to take 16 credit hours each semester, including summer.

The board of regents wants 60 percent of four-year degrees offered in three years by 2014. Ball State University has implemented three-year programs since 2005. NPR reported that 25 students a year opt into a three-year program. That’s 25 out of 22,000.

That should put the program’s interest in perspective.

At YSU, creating three-year programs should take a backseat to simply graduating students. Since 2005, enrollment has increased by more than 2,200 students. The number of degrees conferred has increased by a meager 11.

So we ask, what is the Ohio Board of Regents’ motive behind this new policy it would like implemented by 2012? Is it really in the students best interest, or their own?

It’s about the money made and saved by cranking out graduates. They’ve already cut funding by nearly $10 million since 2010 and have made it clear that more work needs to be done.

Perhaps they’re forgetting that not all college students are financially stable enough to focus solely on education and forego working menial labor jobs just to get by.