Robert Zemsky shares recent successes of “College in 3” project in “The Hechinger Report” and “USA Today”

August 30, 2023

Embracing an accelerated three-year bachelor's degree program is becoming a popular trend among students who seek to minimize expenses and accelerate their transition into the job market.

Spearheading this movement is the University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR), where students partake in summer classes and internships to expedite their graduation. UMR is one of more than a dozen institutions moving forward with 3-year degree pilot programs through the “College in 3” project.

However, this approach encounters several challenges. These hurdles include concerns about students' mental health, the requirement for professors' approval, and the trade-off between expediting education and providing students the opportunity to thoroughly explore social and academic avenues.

Penn GSE Professor Robert M. Zemsky, who has long pushed the idea of “College in 3” and co-leads the project, recently shared the idea’s new momentum in a Hechinger Report story that also ran in USA Today.

Zemsky affirms the increasing interest from other institutions, asserting that the trend is poised to become ubiquitous in higher education, potentially reshaping the conventional four-year college paradigm.

“The whole industry is going to go to this,” he said. “People won’t be able to say no.”

Zemsky, however, acknowledges the obstacles, especially faculty resistance to teaching in the summer.

“Most faculty really feel pressured to do research, and they do it in the summer,” he said. “Don’t discount that. That’s a very powerful push against this.”

Read more at The Hechinger Report.