August 3, 2009 | Diane Johnson | Leave a comment Many students today are finishing their college degree in three years in order to save thousands of dollars. Students report that this takes discipline, a clear study plan, and seven times out of ten a lot of advanced credits (AP) from high school. Gina Richards, a student that earned her bachelors degree in three years said that "I didn't think it was worth it to pay for another $40,000 to play with my friends for another year." Many students like Gina, do not plan on finishing college in three years, but find out that after taking more than 15 credits a semester and earning credit for an internship or study abroad one summer, have enough credits to graduate at the end of the year. Only 4.2 percent of U.S. undergraduates earn a bachelor's degree in three years, the Education Department reports. Most students spend six years earning a degree at a public university, while private institutions report 5.3 years. A handful of colleges have started to offer three-year degrees, but many do not. So many students have come up with their own plan for a three-year degree and then gone to speak with academic advisers that help them determine the logistics behind it. During these economic times, this is a great deal for students financially. They graduate sooner, which allows them to work plus they don't have to pay for housing, tuition, and books for another year. Although this is a great plan, many degrees and programs don't allow you the opportunity to finish in three years. Engineering programs can be difficult to finish in four years, let alone three. There are many perks to completing a three-year program, but there can also be some drawbacks, such as finding a job right now. Students may also be forced to attend classes at inconvenient times because that's the only time they're offered. Plus, students will also miss out on some general education requirements that can really help them throughout their life. In addition, they will miss out on the social aspects of another year of school. Three year programs can save students a lot of money but it requires a lot of dedication and hard work. There are some drawbacks, but students need to weigh their options and determine what is best for them; if it is worth saving the money, or attending school for another year.