Universities try to boost revenue with double degree programsUniversity funding has seen substantial cuts over the past few years, and colleges are working hard to find ways to attract students to their schools and increase tuition revenue. Because they want to be seen as offering the best possible value, some universities are allowing students to earn two separate degrees for the cost of just one diploma.

Undergraduates taking on graduate coursework
While some students in the past chose to double major in order to get the most for their money, modern college students are taking advantage of new college policies that allow them to earn two separate degrees.

Stanford University, Northwestern University, Harvard University, Emory University, Claremont McKenna College and Brandeis University have developed new programs allowing students to pursue both an undergraduate and graduate degree in just four years. Because many of these schools assess tuition by semester rather than credit hours, it usually does not cost students any more than they would expect to pay for their bachelor's degrees.

Students, drawn in by this deal, are often thrilled about the possibility to earn a graduate degree for just the cost of their undergraduate tuition. Even though they typically need to take extra classes each semester and participate in summer sessions, many students see the opportunity as too good to pass up, which is precisely what universities have been hoping for.

Double graduate degree programs increasingly popular
Other schools have developed double graduate degree programs to attract students that have already earned four-year diplomas. Increasingly popular are J.D./M.B.A. programs, which allow students to earn degrees in both law and business management in a timely fashion. Schools such as Northwestern Illinois University and Columbia University emphasize that their accelerated programs allow students to earn both degrees in a much shorter time frame than pursuing them separately. While obtaining a J.D. and M.B.A. separately could take five years, some universities are stressing that their three-year double program is a better value.

Institutions are stressing the value of their M.B.A. programs and some schools offer joint programs in fields other than law. Education, medicine, public policy and environmental studies are just a few of the fields for which schools are creating dual M.B.A. programs.

Universities have struggled to attract new students as tuition rates have skyrocketed and the economy has remained uncertain. As more young adults hope to one day attend graduate school but are deterred by the cost of college, offering a two-for-one deal is a way for universities to boost enrollment.
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