An innovative three-year degree in business administration : a decade of success

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Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP)
The ability to control escalating tuition costs while still delivering a high-quality educational experience is the key to the continued success of post-secondary education in the US. Unlike many industries, where growth in customers and overall expansion often translates to lower costs, this has not been true for labor intensive business models like American higher education. The delivery model has changed little over the last 200 years. The challenge for today's university leader is to create a learning environment that insures the intellectual potential of students is maximized while controlling costs and protecting academic integrity. At Southern New Hampshire University the traditional four year business administration curriculum model was redesigned into three uncompressed years, cutting tuition costs by 25% without sacrificing learning outcomes. The results are compelling. Students save time and tuition costs and the university experiences a savings in instructional delivery costs. The academic achievement of these students, as measured by scores on the Educational Testing Service Major Field tests, is at, or above, the national median. The model described in this paper represents just one illustration of curriculum changes required to address two major challenges now facing American higher education - that of cost control and reduction, and a curriculum more responsive to the need of business and industry. Failure to act decisively on these two fronts puts at risk the pursuit of an undergraduate degree as a rite of passage for many and opens the door for more significant competition from corporate universities and for-profit educational institutions.
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