Purdue University has developed a three-year bachelor's program for communications students that it says will allow them to save more than $9,000, President Mitch Daniels announced Monday.
The program that allow students to complete the same courses as their peers in three years instead of four is available immediately to students majoring in general communication, public relations and strategic communication, mass communication, corporate communication, and human relations, The Lafayette Journal & Courier reported.
"This is another way to make college more affordable," Daniels said. "Purdue needs to think innovatively to help young people get the full value out of their education experience."
Students in the Brian Lamb School of Communications choosing the three-year option will take 18 credit hours during the spring semester of their first year, both semesters of their second year, and the fall semester of their third year. They'll take 15 credit hours in the fall of their first year, and the spring of their final year and will be required to take nine credit hours during both summers.
The savings is $9,290, roughly the cost of one year of in-state tuition, said Marifran Mattson, the head of the communications school.
Graduates will receive the same level of education as their four-year peers, she said. Three-year students also will have time to take internships or study abroad, experiences that Mattson said are important for a graduate to obtain a job.
"It does place more responsibility on the student to take that number of credits," Mattson said. "But I don't think it's set so high that it's not achievable."
The communications school won a $500,000 incentive award for developing the program, Daniels said. His office received five proposals for three-year degrees after he issued the challenge in January, he said.
The communication school's plan stood out in part because the three-year degree is available for multiple majors.
"It's not just one course of study, but five," Daniels said. "They created this flier that mapped out very clearly for the benefit of the students a clear road map and guaranteed these courses will be available."
Mattson said the prize money will be used to track student progress, build a support network and market the program to students on and off campus, Mattson said.