The idea of offering a traditional bachelor's degree in three years instead of four has never really caught on, at least in the United States, but it might be gaining traction with the economy in deep recession.

On Feb. 24, Hartwick College, a liberal arts school in Oneonta, N.Y., became perhaps the most high-profile school yet to announce it would offer a broad range of students the opportunity to finish a bachelor's degree in three years, saving a full year of tuition and fees (which run $42,705 there this year).

It's probably not a solution to the national problem of surging college...

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