It’s called the “Vermont 3-2.” Two schools, the University of Vermont and Vermont Law School are working together to combine resources to offer students the option to receive their undergrad degree in 3 years instead of the traditional 4, and their law degree in 2 instead of the traditional 3. This is one of the first programs in the states to try such a program, and UVM has said it aims “to reduce the cost of higher education.”
‘‘This would give both institutions a way not only to potentially significantly reduce costs for students who would take advantage of the program, but also, we think, it could very well position both institutions to take better advantage of opportunities in the marketplace,’’ UVM spokesman Enrique Corredera, according to Boston.com.
Such an initiative has already been praised by U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., who has recently legislated towards college affordability.
“I applaud UVM and Vermont Law School for this innovative and practical idea to make higher education more affordable for Vermonters,” said Welch’s statement. “Keeping the doors to college open for all students will require this brand of leadership and innovation from higher education administrators nationwide.”
The program is inspired in part by the shared values of the universities. As Vermont Law Professor Cheryl Hanna said, “One of the really great things about working with UVM on this project is that we’re the number one ranked environmental law school in this country and they really are the environmental university.”
UVM President Tom Sullivan agreed with this sentiment, saying they “share a commitment to environmentalism, sustainability and innovation,” and that they have collaborated on various other programs and conferences.
Whether the 3-2 model will work, and will be imitated elsewhere is at the moment uncertain; but with the strain on the legal education market right now, many deans are perking their ears to hear alternatives to the traditional 3 years of law.