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U Of M Tests Year-Round Classes This Fall

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The University of Minnesota is testing out a program that eliminates summer break for college students. Classes would go year-round.

It’s a program that’s been tried before without success. The College of Design will use two of its programs as the pilot for year-round classes.

They surveyed students and about 50 percent said they would be in favor of going year round in order to graduate in three years.

The graphic design and retail merchandising programs in the College of Design will be the first to test the waters this fall before deciding whether to allow year-round courses for all degrees.

Dean Thomas Fischer believes it’s a win for both the college and students.

“To better utilize the space that we have, the staffing that we have here in the summer, as well as to meet the demand of the students who want to get through their education faster,” Fischer said.

The three-year program will save students money. Fischer thinks it will also give them better access to jobs and internships.

“Students were finding it harder and harder to get summer jobs, and many of them were saying, you know, ‘I would rather stay here at the University in the summer and work because this is where I can find jobs more easily,’” Fischer said.

The plan would standardize most summer undergraduate course to seven weeks. Most design students see this as a good way to get into the job market faster.

But there are concerns, like financial aid. The U says the fall, spring and summer semesters will all be considered equal, making financial aid readily available all three terms for those who qualify.

Students who prefer the four-year option can still finish their degree that way. Design student Mike Sasorith says year-round classes could prevent him and others from having to relearn what was forgetten during the long summer break.

“Having that break, it takes away from that creative block and then you come back and you’re like…have to rebuild it all over again. So definitely, continuously having that creativeness is helpful,” Sasorith said.

Only 14 percent of the students surveyed said they had no interest in year-round classes.

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