College students in Washington state got one step closer to accelerated higher education degrees guidelines, with the passage of Senate Bill 5442 sponsored by Sen. Paull Shin of Edmonds. The bill was voted off the Senate floor earlier this week with a sweeping majority and was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The bill encourages the state’s colleges and universities to develop guidelines for a combination of ways students can earn degree credit without requiring them to attend summer classes or enroll in more than a full-time class load. Students could earn a full, 180-credit baccalaureate degree for three-quarters of the cost up to a year ahead of the traditional four-year schedule.
“I believe it is our duty to do everything we can to provide more options for our students,” said Shin. “The cost of higher education continues to rise. Many of our students have the drive and motivation it takes to get through college faster. My bill asks our colleges and universities to be creative in helping students earn their degree up to a year sooner and, more poignantly, for less money.”
Some degree credit options already exist, such as earning college credits through Advanced Placement courses in high school or Running Start classes at community colleges. There are also opportunities to earn credit through internships and work experience.
While the standard four-year degree may still be the choice for most students, this bill would provide options for students who have the desire to move more quickly into the job market, and earn their degree at a lower overall cost.