Editorial: Low-cost B.A.s make higher education more accessible

By The Pitt News Editorial Staff

For students in Florida and Texas, bachelor’s degrees could now come at a cheaper cost.

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Gov. Rick Scott of Florida have pushed for programs in their states’ colleges that would greatly reduce the cost of receiving a bachelor’s degree for those in high-demand majors. Ideally, these degrees would come at a total cost of $10,000.

Providing students with the opportunity to receive a degree at a low cost will allow students to avoid large amounts of debt, the thought of which sometimes discourages students from finishing their degrees. It also would allow students a more solid footing upon which to enter graduate school without worrying about racking up large amounts of debt.

These $10,000 Bachelor of Arts programs are only available in Florida and Texas for a few majors and come attached to a large number of stipulations. None of the schools involved in this program are state schools.

In Florida, Broward College in particular offers the low-cost B.A. program to students in its four smallest programs: middle school math education, middle school science education, information technology and global trade and logistics. In order to be part of this program, students must have a GPA of 3.0, be a Florida resident in college for the first time and be committed to continuous enrollment.

One program offered in Texas is only available to high school students who graduated with at least a 2.5 GPA and 30 hours of college credit. The students then take a year of classes at a junior college before completing their degrees at Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College where they must maintain a 3.0 GPA and take 15 credits per semester. This program is only offered for those intending to earn degrees in biology, chemistry and math.

Providing degree programs that will ultimately prevent students from accumulating a large amount of debt is a great step states should begin making. It makes college more accessible to students and allows them to receive the same degree others would receive at more prestigious colleges. Many programs offer this low-cost degree for majors that will slot a student into a professional track or career path that requires graduate school. These programs also allow students to go to graduate school and grant them the willingness to take on additional debt, since their debt will not be as large after they finish their undergraduate degrees. 

Other states should take cues from Florida and Texas and begin offering programs such as these in their universities and allow students to earn degrees without being left with a mountain of debt.

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