a three-year BA?

Two recent stories give background and focus to the three-year degree (you do know that Oxford has a three-year degree), among other things:

Continental Perspectives - Higher Ed
Robert A. Pastor, co-director of the Center for North American Studies at American University, said that the North American Free Trade Agreement should have led to much more cooperation between colleges in the three countries of North America. But NAFTA has become “a veritable piñata for pundits and politicians,” even though it has in fact increased trade in all directions in the continent.
Pastor said, however, that NAFTA has been less of a force than it might have because of the fallout from 9/11, which made crossing borders and shipping across borders more difficult. While there are positive examples of collaboration, Pastor said that they are limited when compared to what is routine in Europe. He called on colleges in the United States to specifically encourage more students to study in Canada or Mexico -- countries that are not as high on the list of student destinations as he said they should be.
There is also a research agenda, he said. The European Union funds 15 research centers in the United States to study the European Union, Pastor noted. But the U.S. government -- while sponsoring research centers at American universities about Asia and Latin America -- doesn’t support research on North America and its various interconnections.
News: Express Lane to a B.A. - Inside Higher Ed
Margaret Drugovich, the college’s president and a former enrollment officer, said that the idea for the program emerged years ago as an attempt to make a Hartwick degree more affordable. “Parents would tell me they wanted the kind of education that Hartwick provides but that they simply couldn’t afford it.” Tuition for the current academic year is $32,550, and room, board and fees total close to $10,000. 
The US, unlike many other industrialized nations, does not pay for college and citizens now pay these costs themselves though there is a patchwork of scholarships that often go to wealthier citizens on the basis of merit.  Of course, all colleges are for-profit colleges and they won't like this cut in the income stream:
To Carol Geary Schneider, president of Association of American Colleges and Universities, the degrees are a distraction. In an article to be published in the forthcoming issue of the association’s journal, she blasts three-year degrees as part of a “new crop of faux reforms that, if adopted, would send us backward.”
By focusing on relatively high-performing students, colleges have the potential to forget about those who can’t graduate in four, five or even six years. At Hartwick and UNCG, students in the accelerated programs get course registration priority over more senior students. A freshman in one of these programs could nose out a senior in registering for a course that the senior needs to graduate.
Large numbers of students who enter college never complete their degrees and “the majority of graduates are far from prepared for the challenges of either the economy or our democracy,” Schneider wrote, suggesting that students need more time in college, not less. “By every possible measure -- outcomes studies, employer assessments, faculty reports and proficiency levels on standardized tests -- too many students already are falling short.”
Funny how all these students are to blame and schools, well, they are really trying hard.  Parents are spending phenomenal amounts of savings and income and students take loads of debt on trying to get a good job.  But now families are spending enormous sums to get BAs to help the nation fall short. Because it is the student's who just are not prepared.

And poor people caused the financial crisis. Got it.
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