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UMass Economics

Three-year degree makes headlines

There is widespread news coverage of UMass Amherst’s plan to begin offering a three-year degree program as part of an effort to make college more affordable. James Staros, provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, says as state financial support decreases and families and students are forced to bear more of the cost, the university is seeking ways to mitigate that financial impact. UMass Amherst is the first major university in the state to offer a formal three-year degree program. Beginning this fall, first-year students majoring in economics, music and sociology can join the three-year track. Eventually students in about one third of the 88 majors will be eligible for the program. Staros also notes that the three-year option is very focused. “It’s not for students who go to college and take a year to figure out what they want to do,” he says. (Globe, 9/27/10; MSNBC, WBZ-TV 4, WFXT-TV 25, NECN, ABC6 [Providence, R.I.], Inside Higher Ed, WFCR, WBUR, Herald, Republican [all from AP], 9/27/10; News Office assistance)

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