High-Speed College

The storied University of the District of Columbia now plans to offer some students the opportunity to earn a special bachelor’s degree, in only two years. According to an article by Daniel de Vise in the Washington Post:

The University of the District of Columbia is preparing a pilot program that would offer students at two DCPS high schools a bachelor’s degree two years after the completion of 12th grade, President Allen Sessoms said today.

Sessoms wants to take groups of students from Wilson High School and the School Without Walls into UDC courses starting in their junior year and push them through a full four-year bachelor’s program, effectively combining that coursework with the final two years of high school.

Well this is certainly an interesting idea, but it seems a little risky. Despite the proliferation of honors courses and Advanced Placement credits, it’s pretty difficult for most students to get through college even in four years. It’s possible for UDC to manipulate the rules a little so that students can earn a BA in just two years, but would that really be a college education?

The idea of creating a special quick college program for DC’s top public schools is a commendable effort to make UDC look attractive to the highest-achieving public school students in the city, but let’s see how well this works. The 4-year graduation rate at UDC is currently 8 percent. With success rates like these for those on the traditional four-year plan, it’s hard to think the school is going to be any good at getting students out in only two years.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer