WEST LAFAYETTE - Purdue University has announced another initiative aimed at making a degree more affordable. The Degree in 3 program allows students to complete College of Liberal Arts degrees in three years, which the school says could save in-state students more than $9,000. Purdue President Mitch Daniels says the move makes the changes "without reducing the requirements or the quality of the degree." The school says the three-year track can still include study abroad and internship opportunities.

Dean of Liberal Arts David Reingold says the three-year degree is "not for the faint of heart," saying it will require students to be in school year-round and carry a full load of classes. The school will allow students who receive need or merit-based aid to condense that support into the three years.

Purdue says the three-year path is an option for 85 percent of incoming students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts from the College of Liberal Arts, and encourages interested students to declare themselves for the Degree in 3 path by the end of their first year. The school says the cost savings for out-of-state students could top $18,000 and international students could see more than $19,000 in savings.

Daniels calls the idea that undergraduate degrees have to take four years "really little more than a matter of tradition, a uniquely American tradition." He says the new initiative "sets our College of Liberal Arts apart from its counterparts and marks it as a leader nationally."

The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree category will not have the three-year option because of additional credit requirements. Purdue says it will develop additional three-year degree options in the future.