New York University has announced a series of measures aimed at helping students to graduate faster, in order to address issues relating to the affordability of education.
Every undergraduate school at the institution now has designated “acceleration advisors”, students will be able to transfer credits from other less expensive colleges, and the university will increase the number of two-credit courses it offers, as part of a number of changes designed to help students graduate in under four years.
The university has also launched an academic planner tool to help students plan and map their progress towards completing their degree.
According to the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings, NYU students pay an average of $46,170 (£37,167) in tuition and fees per year, while room and board costs $16,782 annually.
The changes, announced by NYU on 17 February, will also affect graduate students, with several schools developing one year master’s degrees and combined undergraduate and graduate programmes.
In addition, a review of syllabuses by academic staff at the university has reduced the number of textbooks required to be purchased by students by 1,000 in total – from 6,600 in spring 2016 to 5,600 in spring 2017.
The library also has a new system that checks course packs and books to see if the material is available free online, there will be more on-campus jobs for students, and the university has provided free access to private, external scholarship schemes through a new gateway service.
NYU president Andrew Hamilton said that approximately 20 per cent of undergraduates at the university finish their degree in less than four years and the new changes will help more students follow suit.
He added that affordability is a “key issue” for the university, and it is a problem that is “very much related to access on entry and employability at graduation”.
“There is no one silver bullet that can solve the affordability issue for our students,” he said in a statement on the university’s website. “However, thanks to the work of the affordability steering committee and working group, there is a growing range of innovative ideas.
"None of them will suit every student’s circumstances, and not all of them will be available to every student, but every student should be able to find some measures to help save money.”