If you are a high school or college student, chances are you have heard the phrase "College is the best four years of your life" at least once from a friend or family member. College is still considered a rite of passage, as well as an investment in one's future – but the quintessential college experience certainly does not come cheap. Tuition rates at colleges and universities around the country continue to rise and recent changes to federal financial aid legislation could greatly impact many American families' ability to pay higher education costs. Four years of tuition, room and board, book fees, etc. can add up to some serious debt – and of course, not all students finish in four years.

To combat the current financial obstacles to going to college, some schools – like Baldwin-Wallace College and American University – have introduced three-year undergraduate degree programs. These programs help students and their families save money on tuition and student loans while also enabling the student to enter the workforce earlier.

Less debt after graduation is certainly an incentive, but would you be willing to cut your college experience short?

Read more about the trend toward three-year degree progams in this U.S. News and World Report story and let me know your thoughts.