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College students in the U.S. should be offered financial incentives to graduate in three years rather than four.

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Student loan rates and tuition fees are getting increased in the United States each year; therefore, incentives for early graduation are imperative. Financial relief aspects can be cost-neutral both for the college institution and the student, motivating the student to efficiently finalize education program

Graduating in a time frame of three years minimizes student loans. Graduating in less than four years logically suggests bigger savings on education expenses. In a Consumerist article discussing the University of Texas’s approach on student financial incentives, Morran (2012) wrote, “In-state tuition at UT-Austin, where the four-year graduation rate is around 50%, is $9,792 per year. The average four-year student will borrow approximately $19,000. That number increases significantly for five-year students ($24,000) and for those who take six years to graduate ($31,000).” The same article concluded that their incentive program would cut down a student’s loan expenditure by at least $12,000.

In a policy review of financial encouragement prospects in the state high schools, Ward and Vargas (2011) said that as long as the early graduation policies are optimal, both the school and the recipient of the incentive will benefit through tuition savings: students graduate with the same competencies but at lower cost, and students with modest income have the opportunity to participate. It would be logical to assume that the same principles can be applied to state colleges.

Research by Fryer (2010) suggests that financial incentives increase students’ achievement specifically, when rewards target inputs to the educational production function.

Offering financial incentives to college students for three years graduation instead of four, would be a great solution to the current student loan problem and may also be a window to academic failure unfolding. Monetary rewards for early graduation will not only help the student to save on student loans, but also motivate for achieving high-water marks.

References
Fryer, R.G. (2010). Financial incentives and student achievement: evidence from randomized trials. The National Bureau of Economic Research, NBER Working Paper Number 15898. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/papers/w15858
Morran, C. (2012). College to dangle financial incentive to students who graduate on time. Consumerist. Retrieved from http://www.consumerist.com/2012/10/05/college-to-dangle-financial-incentive-to-students-who-graduate-on-time/
Ward, D., & Vargas, J. Incentives for Early Graduation [PDF document]. Retrieved from http://www/jff.org/sites/default/files/IncentivesForEarlyGraduation_PolicyBrief_080311.pdf

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