How about getting a college degree in three years, instead of four?

Starting next fall, Carson-Newman University will offer a program aimed at getting students to graduate faster and cheaper.

The school announced it's offering a three-year bachelor's degree in business, communications, social sciences, psychology, history and nursing.

"Rather than spending your fourth year paying Carson-Newman money, you can spend your fourth year working for somebody and they'll pay you money, and I think that's a huge benefit," said Dr. Paul Percy, executive vice president and provost at Carson-Newman.

Percy said less time in school means graduation rates go up.

"When students make progress toward their degree, they tend to persist," Percy said. "When they persist, they end up graduating."

He also says it will help students financially, which student Cooper Shelton is a fan of.

"Quite a few of my friends are taking out loans or trying to figure out how they're going to pay for school," Shelton said. "And definitely if the option did arise for it to be cheaper, I know they would jump all over it."

Shelton is double majoring in history and political science, and said the three-year degree program would help him accelerate some of the classes.

Some students said they weren't sure if they'd prefer the three-year option.

"I've made a lot of connections, like friendships, colleagues and stuff like that, that I don't think I would've made had I been on a three-year track," student Emily Phillips said.

Though the degree requires summer classes, those classes are typically less expensive.

"It's about the ability to afford it and the time it takes," Percy said.

But it's the quality of that time that Phillips enjoys.

"I think education is more than just classes - which classes are important - but, for me personally, I wouldn't, but there's pros and cons to both," Phillips said.

Percy said the plan was inspired by Gov. Bill Haslam's Drive to 55 initiative, which is aimed at getting 55 percent of Tennesseans to have a college degree by 2025.