New Affordability Programs Aim to Speed Students Through College


Kevin Jiang

NYU is providing both a three-year and a five-year acceleration path to graduate. Both are a part of the new affordability initiatives.

Adriana Tapia, Contributing Writer

NYU’s newest affordability initiative will soon hand out express passes to graduation in an effort to head off student costs.

President Andrew Hamilton sent an email on Feb. 17 to students introducing NYU Accelerate, a three-year academic track. Proposed by the Affordability Steering Committee, the program aims to reduce the cost of college by encouraging to complete their studies within a shorter timeline. As of January 2017, each NYU undergraduate school has designated acceleration advisors.

One of the cornerstones of the Accelerate initiative will be expanding the amount of internal and external transfer credits accepted by its schools. Another key step will be adding more two-credit classes in order to help students accumulate the credits needed to graduate.

Senior presidential fellow and head of the Affordability Steering Committee Ellen Schall said that the acceleration plan will be accessible to students at different stages of their academic career.

“There are students who figured this [method] out in their sophomore year and even later,” Schall said. “Any student who wants to talk about this as a possibility should speak to their acceleration advisor at their school.”

Schall said that the program is open to both lower and upperclassmen. However, CAS freshman Peter Billovits said he is concerned about the overall benefit that an accelerated college experience would bring to students. Billovits believes the proposal should be considered from both an economic and an educational point of view.

“I see the university itself benefiting from it  — same number of students, same tuition prices and students don’t have to pay for four years,” Billovits said. “However, I don’t know if it would benefit the students from an educational aspect. Three years means that you’re going to be rushing credits…[which] could hinder people who are undecided and looking to explore their options.”

In addition to NYU Accelerate, a new DDS/MBA dual degree was introduced last week for the NYU College of Dentistry students. This academic plan makes it possible for students to earn both a dental degree and an MBA within five years, balancing business coursework with clinical practice.

The program was launched under the premise that dentists should be familiar with the business aspect of healthcare practice. Prospective dental students may apply for admission into the program either before they arrive at NYU or during their first year at the university.

NYU College of Dentistry Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Andrew Spielman explained that, given the rigorous academic expectations of a dual-degree program, interested students are required to be in good academic standing with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher. He said the demanding nature of the track meant that only five students were admitted in the program’s first year.

“The limit is set to ensure we have enough qualified students who can handle a very busy dual degree program and will be able to successfully complete it,” Spielman said. “Should there be an overwhelming interest we can always discuss to increase the number of accepted students.”

Students like CAS sophomore and SLAM member Marcyana Elie-Pierre do not believe that the new measures will produce effective changes to achieve a long-term foundation for affordability at NYU. However, Elie-Pierre thinks that it will remind students that graduating early is only one of the many alternatives they can pursue to save money on their own.

“Our main concern at SLAM is that there is no actual order to counteract tuition growth,” Elie-Pierre said. “We need to arrive to a consensus between students and administration to directly tackle what is perhaps the biggest burden on affordability.”

Elie-Pierre said she does not believe that freezing tuition and changing students’ college schedules are equivalent measures.

Tisch sophomore Isabella Uzcategui agreed that the idea has potential to help many students financially, but that it needs to be more inclusive of the international student population.

“The plan could definitely work for students who arrive to college with AP and IB credits,” Uzcategui said. “But for international students, resources for financial assistance will remain scarce. Direct action against the rising costs of attending NYU would be most helpful.”

Email Adriana Tapia at [email protected].