FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
A dramatic change is underway at some of the nation's colleges and universities.
In an effort to attract more students and improve the financial bottom line, many institutions are cutting tuition or graduating students faster.
CNN Money reports that some private colleges are cutting tuition by more than 20%. Others are offering three-year degree programs, but that means fewer classes.
And some experts worry these fast-tracked degrees are a bad idea. That they shortchange students on learning critical skills like reading and writing.
Meanwhile it's no secret that the cost of attending college has skyrocketed with both tuition and room and board rising faster than the rate of inflation for years.
The average tuition at four-year private colleges now stands at nearly $29,000 a year. So the savings from finishing in three years instead of four ain't chump change.
It's estimated that total college student loan debt in this country tops $1 trillion. That kind of debt can force people to postpone buying homes. And that could slow the housing recovery.
Meanwhile a lot of these young graduates aren't buying homes because they're moving back in with mom and dad when they can't find jobs.
A recent pew poll shows nearly 30% of young adults between the ages of 25 and 34 are living in their parents' home. That's the highest level since the 1950s. And that number shoots up to 53% for those younger than 25.
Here’s my question to you: Is paying less tuition for a three-year college degree a good idea?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Michael in Alexandria, Virginia:
I graduated in three years by taking summer school and testing out of half a year. It’s a wonderful way to save money, especially if going on to graduate school. In the future, however, the first two years at any school should be publicly funded, with employers hiring people after that and paying for the rest.
C. in Alabama:
I was a double major in college…but even with such a heavy load, a percentage of the classes I took were electives unrelated to my degree. Those electives enriched my educational experience and my life, and I wouldn't trade what I learned for the world. But considering the difficult economic environment, a three-year degree centered solely on the courses pertinent to the degree obtained should be acceptable to employers who require a traditional college degree.
Susan in Denver:
If a student goes to summer school and completes four years of course work in three years, fine. But don't degrade a 4-year bachelor's degree by chopping out 25% of the content. If students want less, they can get two-year associate degrees.
It depends on what the degree is in. A focused 3-year degree in an Engineering field is definitely worth it. A degree in Comparative Medieval Literature or Advance Basket Weaving isn't worth it even at half the price. There is a huge disconnect between the degrees we SAY we need, and the degrees our Education System keep cranking out.
Jack, Our current 4-year college degrees are a true and honest equivalent to a high school diploma obtained in the 1950s and 60s, with the possible exception of the fact that high school graduates back then could actually spell words found in the English dictionary. If there was to be a conversion to a 3-year college degree, after graduating who would then teach them to dress themselves?