As families around the nation struggle to afford college — and as graduates struggle to make the minimum payments on their student loans — the University of Massachusetts Amherst plans to introduce a 3-year degree program this fall, according to the Boston Globe.

Dozens of other colleges around the country have made this step already. As tuition and other costs climb in public and private schools, many students are left with six-figure loan packages when they graduate. Money has become more important in many respects than having a traditional 4-year education — and having the social development that comes with that.

“As the state backs out of support for public higher education, and families take on a bigger chunk of the burden, we need to try to mitigate that,” James Staros, UMass Amherst provost, told the Globe. “We thought, ‘What can we do to shorten the time and cost for a UMass education, without diluting the degree?'”

Lesley University in Cambridge will also add a 3-year option next year. Southern New Hampshire University already offers a 3-year program.

Amherst plans to allow students with significant Advanced Placement credits to meet with their advisers this year and craft out a 3-year graduation plan if they wish.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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