Speedy degree program coming to SUNY Broome

By Erika Mahoney

November 18, 2013 Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 9:45 AM EDT

Town of Dickinson, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Next fall, some SUNY Broome students will have the chance to graduate twice as fast.

The new program will allow high-achieving students to graduate with a liberal arts degree in only one year.

"If I had the opportunity to do it, I would do it," freshman Akilah Briggs-Melvin said. 

It's called the AA1 Degree Program, standing for One Year Associate in Arts. Accepted students will graduate with a Liberal Arts and Associate Degree.

Program leaders say similar degree options are offered at other colleges around the country, but the AA1 degree stands out because of its rigorous course.

"There is a perceived need in the community for this group of academically motivated, talented students," said Fast Forward and Early College Staff Associate Katie Bucci. "We want them to stay in the area. We want to provide them with the education they deserve."

High school students who graduate in the top 2 percent of their class are automatically accepted. Students who graduate in the top 3 to 10 percent are encouraged to apply.

"If the school offers something like that, that's definitely something kids would want to strive for," said freshman Tyler Varsik.

"Kids who are determined and hard working, that would be a good opportunity for them to start their career faster," Briggs-Melvin said.

The freshman added she wished the program was already in effect.

"I can't wait to get my hands on the outside world."

Less time on campus means less tuition. As college costs continue to rise, the program will help students get their start in the world with less college debt. The degree will cost about $3,900.

"It would definitely save a lot of money," freshman Crysta Carey said. Carey said she is already saving up to go to a four-year college after her two years at SUNY Broome.

"Ivy League schools start around high 30s, high 40s, sometimes even in the 50s," Bucci said. "And that doesn't include room and board, it's tuition only. Whereas if a student starts here, it's $3,900. As you can see it's a significant savings."

The deadline to apply for the program is March 1 at 5 p.m.

Click here for more information on AA1.