By Alysha Bohanon
President Eric Kaler suggested adapting a three-semester academic calendar for the University in this first State of the University address held in Coffman Union Thursday, news sources report.
The potential calendar would include three terms of equal length, which would speed up the time it takes to earn a degree. It would be possible for a full-time student to earn a bachelor's degree in less than three years, the Star Tribune reported.
According to a committee recently studied the idea and noted in their January 2011 report that such a schedule could "enhance the learning experiences of students, allow flexibility for students to accelerate their degree completion and to provide opportunity for increased revenue for colleges," according to the Star Tribune.
Kaler said the year-long calendar would work around religious holidays in December and the 10-day Minnesota State Fair, and would include a longer winter session in January, the Minnesota Daily reported.
Running on a three-semester calendar would increase tuition dollars to the University to hire more faculty, Kaler said. Faculty would still teach two semester a year, but could choose to teach the third semester for extra compensation, according to the Minnesota Daily.
But Kaler the new calendar is not without "big" challenges, such as students' financial aid, the Minnesota Daily reported. Currently, financial aid is given on a two-semester a year basis, meaning students would have used up their yearly allowance by the time the third semester started.
"We'd need a transition time to move to the new model," Kaler said, according to the Star Tribune. "In the balance, I think the benefits outweigh the challenges, and this is an idea well worth driving forward."