I can readily see the point of finishing college in three years but I also know that the last year (in some sense the "extra" year) that Joel spent in college was a valuable one for him. There may be a case to be made for not thinking in terms of a "one-size-fits-all" model when contemplating the length of a college career. As Alexander points out in his article the statistics seem to indicate that it is no longer the reality -- but unfortunately, in real life, students are taking more than four years:
The average amount of time students now take to complete an undergraduate degree has stretched to six years and seven months as students interrupted by work, inconvenienced by unavailable classes, or lured by one more football season find it hard to graduate.
I'd like to know where Alexander gets that statistic, by the way; I couldn't find anything like it on Google. The National Center for Education statistics seems to say that it takes students a little over five years to graduate.
In any event, Newsweek bolsters the argument for a three-year college career with the following video: