U Mary - Only University in the Country to Offer Year-Round Campus Program

Bismarck - For most college students, summer break is the most anticipated part of the year...

But recently in North Dakota, some students have made the choice to go to school full-time, all year round.

Emily Medalen tells us about the ONLY university in the country that offers the year-round campus program.

I spent the day at the University of Mary, where they adopted the year-round campus program in 2014.
They told me they got the idea because of the growing problems of higher education -
Rising costs, extended years, and growing student loan debt.
I spoke to two students who are on the fast track to graduation.
"I'm so thankful...." says Victoria Degenstein, Senior of Year-Round Program.

Victoria Degenstein has spent the last 2 and a half years studying nursing at the University of Mary - and is getting ready to graduate in 3 short months.

"So when are you done?" I asked.
"April 28th, 2pm," says Degenstein. 

This was made possible just a few years ago, when the university opened the first year-round campus program in the United States.

"The amounts of money that can be saved are quite staggering actually. $300,000 when it comes to a bachelor's degree, $600,000 when it comes to masters," says Chip Hinton, Director of Undergraduate Admissions.

That's counting money saved and earned by finishing in such a short period of time.
Hinton says besides saving time and debt, year-round campus lets young individuals reach their goals early.

"You can start work sooner, and get into your career," says Hinton.
"Just being able to get into the workforce quicker, and perhaps one day getting my doctorate or masters in something, is something I've always wanted," says Degenstein.

One of the biggest concerns when starting year-round campus was college athletes' elegibility.
The NCAA had never worked with anything like the year-round campus program, but after deliberation, decided to give student-athletes their stamp of approval. Now, these athletes can graduate 8 semesters in 2.6 years, without any negative impact on athletic eligibility.
"It's been fun. It's a little challenging in the summer with morning weights and then class, but it's honestly no different than a regular semester for me," says Jamison Lytle, Student Athlete.

He says year-round campus isn't only for students who are totally set on their major.

"I actually ended up switching my major, so year-round campus has actually helped me catch up to all the other marketing majors," says Lytle.

"It was a great experience. I'm so blessed to have had this opportunity, and I loved it," says Degenstein.

Victoria accepted a job at CHI St. Alexius that she will start when she finishes in April.
The university also offers scholarships, because most outside scholarships don't count for summer courses.

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