Wesleyan bucks trend, lets students graduate in 3 years

Marcella Bombardieri:

They’ve given up on studying abroad, taking a summer vacation, or getting a full night’s sleep. Cookies or a granola bar on the run often constitute meals. Friends give them guilt trips for skipping out on the senior year bonding experience.
 But for a few students at Wesleyan University seeking to earn a degree in three years, there will be a big payoff: saving tens of thousands of dollars in tuition.
 Wesleyan, a liberal arts college sometimes called a “little Ivy,” appears to be the most elite school yet to embrace the idea of helping students cut down on the exorbitant cost of a college education by speeding up their journey to graduation.
 The sheer enormity of tuition prices has helped the concept of a three-year bachelor’s degree gain a foothold in recent years at a few dozen schools around the country, including the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Lesley University.
 The number of students choosing to participate remains tiny at most of the colleges, because of the difficulty of doing so and the enduring allure of four years in the ivory tower. And some educators worry that three years isn’t enough time for young people to find themselves intellectually or emotionally. But the endorsement from Wesleyan (sticker price $61,000 a year) may yet help popularize the idea.