Penn State's Two-Step Bachelor Degree (A Hop-Skip Approach)

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College students and graduates nationwide are swimming in debt after borrowing heavily to meet soaring college costs. The crushing monthly loan payments carry huge implications for this generation of college graduates including restricting their lifestyle, often forcing them to work extra jobs to make ends meet, putting off major purchases, and proceeding cautiously with career and family decisions. Many will struggle for a decade or more to pay off their loans. Total student borrowing more than doubled nationwide in the past decade, to $86 billion, according to the College Board. The private loan portion spiked sevenfold. About two-thirds of the graduates have on average debt of $20,000 with more of them being at least $40,000 in debt. Students are taking longer than four years to earn a bachelor's degree, adding to the total cost. Nationally, about 44 percent of students take five or more years to finish baccalaureate degree. The statistics on college costs and borrowing add up to a financial quagmire. Over the past decade, the tuition at public four-year schools has increased 37 percent while the average private four-year college tuition has increased by 71 percent. Universities understand the financial burden that is placed on students to attend their schools, but with the decreasing state support as well as the economic stress, they rely on various resources to cover the operational cost including raising tuition. Therefore, efficient use of student finances is a goal for universities as much as it is for students in pursuit of a degree. This paper will focus on a Penn State Harrisburg's initiative to allow students to pursue an undergraduate degree while minimizing their debt. This should be a goal for all universities as they evaluate their activities in achieving similar goals of offering an excellent education as well be accountable in minimizing the monetary impact for their students. The Penn State Harrisburg “Hop Skip Approach” includes PSU location options so the students can choose to stay home while starting their college education, provides different delivery systems for students to complete courses, and providing a guide so students know the transferability of classes. These initiatives are outstanding examples of the university's commitment to students, both educationally and financially.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Dec 15 2021
Event2020 Conference for Industry and Education Collaboration, CIEC 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: May 6 2020May 9 2020


Conference2020 Conference for Industry and Education Collaboration, CIEC 2020
CityVirtual, Online

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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