Inside one college's plan for 3-year degrees

Summer courses will be half price

Beginning in 2017, Hiram College, a private liberal arts college in Hiram, Ohio, will be offering three-year degree programs in 19 academic disciplines. 

In offering students the chance to finish in three years rather than four, Hiram's president Lori Varlotta says the school is "responding to the public's call for increased affordability and accessibility."

Students in the accelerated program will take courses all year long, including during the summer, when they will take a combination of classroom and online courses. Hiram will offer these students priority scheduling to ensure registration for necessary courses. 

Find and eliminate course section bottlenecks

The summer courses will cost half of the price of the academic year courses—students will pay $237 per credit hour rather than $475. The summer room and board costs will also be half of their year-round counterparts.

All in all, Hiram students in the three-year program can expect to save $26,000, which, when combined with an extra year's salary from entering the workforce earlier, would bump total savings up to $63,000.

Hiram also offers seven other distinct pathways to accommodate students' unique situations:

  • Emerging Scholars Pathway, offering conditional first-year admission for students who need additional academic support;
  • Eclectic Scholars Pathway, offering an honors program for high-achieving high school students;
  • College Credit Plus Pathway, offering high school students the chance to take college courses in high school to reduce degree time and costs;
  • Traditional 4-year Degree Pathway;
  • Weekend College Pathway;
  • Online Degree Pathway; and
  • Transfer Pathway.

Varlotta says of Hiram's many pathways, "The days of thinking a private liberal arts college is only for the elite and traditional-age college students is long gone... We're expanding the mission of Hiram to all" (Farkas, cleveland.com, 11/3; McCaffery, Crain's Cleveland Business, 11/2; Hiram College News, 11/3).

You don't have to choose between liberal arts and guided pathways


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