A major collaboration could soon be in the works for higher education in Vermont. The University of Vermont and the Vermont Law School are considering a new joint degree program.
The Vermont 3-2 program would allow students to earn an undergraduate and a law degree in five years. The goal is to reduce the cost of higher education. The program would have students secure an undergraduate degree in three years, and a law degree in two. Traditionally, students first need four years of undergraduate education before going to law school for another three years.
"I think it creates some new opportunities for our students, both Vermont students and out-of-state students. I think it could be an enrollment attractant in terms of students who want a law degree as quickly and economically as they can get it. And it's a potential win-win for both institutions," said Tom Gustafson of UVM.
The proposal shaves two years off the normal time frame for the degrees and has the potential to save students thousands of dollars.
The idea comes at a time when the Vermont Law School continues to see a drop in enrollment and has been offering buyouts to staff.
The joint degree is only in the exploratory phase, but if implemented, would be among the first of its kind in the country.
Faculty members from both schools would have to approve the curriculum before signing off on the idea.