Home Education Abolishing tuition fees helps colleges increase admissions in the summer

Abolishing tuition fees helps colleges increase admissions in the summer


After two years of unpredictability and financial uncertainty associated with the pandemic, administrators of colleges and universities are cautiously optimistic about the prospects for admission this summer. While many administrators are hesitant to predict, increase or decrease enrollment this summer, institutions that offer free and reduced tuition are seeing steady growth.

Because the start time and duration of summer sessions vary depending on the two-year and four-year institutions – some have already started and others should only start in early June – many colleges associate the increase with a full or partial waiver of tuition fees.

The University of California, Fresno, for example, reported a 6.9 percent increase in enrollment for summer sessions, for the fifth year in a row, with the first of two summer sessions beginning June 13. “And it’s still growing,” said Scott Moore, dean of the Fresno Department of Continuing and Global Education.

Moore links the increase in student numbers to proposed financial incentives; summer classes are free or at a discount depending on financial needs. The lower costs are the result of a grant from the Provost Graduation Initiative College, which was established in 2016 to help enrolled students with good grades who are close to graduation complete their studies. The usual tuition fee for summer classes is $ 331 per unit or $ 993 per course of three blocks.

The CSU system, which consists of 23 campuses with a total of 485,000 entrants, was launched last year Graduation Initiative 2025. The goal of the initiative is to increase the number of graduates in all and close the gap in the number of graduates between white and colored students, those living on low incomes, and those who are the first in their families to enter college. One of the program’s priorities is to increase the use of summer sessions to catch up or stay on track for graduation.

The program provides dedicated funding for each campus for use at its discretion “to increase summer and intersessional accessibility,” according to a CSU spokesman. Campuses may use funds to waive summer courses, grants, or scholarships.

“The campuses that take summer seriously and deliberately treat it, and are making some effort to close those gaps in capital – they’re really moving the dial,” Moore said. He added that since the beginning of the initiative, Fresno has narrowed the gap in the number of graduates between white students and underrepresented students to 1.8 percent. He said the graduation rate of low-income students has now risen above the level for students who are not from low-income families.

Humboldt California State Polytechnic University, also in the CSU system, allows all of its students to take up to two summer courses for free each year. The cost of summer courses at Cal Poly Humboldt this year is $ 289 per unit or $ 1,156 per class. The university offered 72 classes during the summer of 2020, and training 1,027 students. This year it offers 118 courses, and as of May 18 there were 2,844 students on its training.

Some courses have such long waiting lists that Cal Poly Humboldt officials are considering adding more courses this summer, said Cyril Oberlander, interim dean of the College of Further Education and Global Interaction.

Funding for the CSU initiative is paid for the cancellation of summer tuition, which covers costs that are usually paid solely by enrolling in courses.

Administration, staff and faculty have embraced the idea of ​​making full use of the summer to bring students closer to graduation, Oberlander said, adding: “We don’t want to sacrifice students for the likelihood that they now need to move on. a five-year or six-year plan. ”

While summer enrollment figures across the country will only be approximate for at least the next few weeks, specific data from some CSU agencies suggest that free tuition increases the numbers.

“So far it has been a real success,” Oberlander said of the tuition waiver, “and it was interesting to see all the students wanting to finish their classes.”

Small private universities have had similar success with summer study breaks.

Howard Payne University of Texas on May 18 announced it will offer for the third year in a row 50 percent discount on summer courses. Corey Hines, who has been president of the university since 2019, said lower tuition fees have become a significant motivation for students.

“Students from our area who may return from college elsewhere may need to take several courses for students, and HPU offers a wide range of classes,” he said.

This was announced on May 3 by Northwest Indian College, a tribal institution in Washington state summer courses will be free, for the first time for the college, “especially in an attempt to close the gaps in equity” between indigenous students, who make up 91.7 per cent of the 975 students, and non-indigenous students elsewhere. The waiver is also designed to help relocate students and returning students, catch up on their classes and finish school sooner, the announcement said.

Community colleges have long been enjoyed by students of four-year institutions who take summer courses at public colleges in person or online. Several community colleges also still have free tuition offers that they introduced when the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. Some of these offerings are available to all students, while others are available to target groups such as returning students, senior students, first-generation students, and core workers.

Many colleges and universities have introduced in response to the pandemic the abolition and reduction of tuition, as well as programs similar to the one offered by the CSU system, which led to a sharp drop in enrollment in many four- and two-year institutions and thwarted progress students made before graduation. Students from underrepresented groups particularly affected, often due to job losses due to the pandemic, increased family care responsibilities and lack of broadband access.

Summer record started growing again in 2021 in some institutions because they continued to offer waiver or tuition fees. Many agencies used federal funds to combat COVID-19 to subsidize summer training. Some institutions that previously offered one summer session have started offering two or shorter sessions that allowed students to earn more credit to catch up after not completing summer courses or stopping during a pandemic.

Summer enrollment in public colleges is often difficult to assess until sessions begin, or in some cases after sessions. Representatives of public colleges are looking at trends from past years to see if they will persist this year. Matt Reed, vice president of education at Brookdale Community College in New Jersey and blogger Inside the Supreme Ednoted recently noted in his column, ”Confessions of the Dean of the Public College“It is difficult to predict not only the general summer registration, but also the registration from one summer session to the next:” Your assumption is as good as mine, “he wrote.

Brad Phillips, executive director of the Maryland Association of Community Colleges, a advocacy group for 16 state community colleges, said the increase in student numbers over the past two years has been accompanied by a decline in enrollment in the fall. He said the decline was due to student uncertainty during the pandemic and the economy. According to him, inflation, rising gas prices and other recent financial pressures will also affect students ’decisions about whether to enroll in summer courses this year.

“There’s so much to consider, especially during a pandemic,” Phillips said. “You’ll never be able to determine who’s going where until they do.”

Given all of these factors that can influence student choice, total enrollment in the summer can remain inconsistent and unpredictable. According to Doug Anderson, a representative of the university system, the number of summer studies in 37 state four-year and two-year institutions of the Minnesota Colleges and Universities decreased by 6.6 percent compared to the same period in 2021 and 6.7 percent in 2021. from 2020.

Forecasts for 2022 were not available on five University of Minnesota campuses, but a record for the summer steadily declining since 2012except for an increase in 2020, the first summer pandemic.

Officials at the Pennsylvania State Higher Education System, which runs the state’s four-year public colleges, also failed to predict prospects for admission this summer. The total number of undergraduate students decreased from 83,052 in the 2018-2019 academic year to 73,448 in 2021-2022. Kevin Hensill, a spokesman for the system, said it was too early to make an accurate assessment: “We are cautiously optimistic that system-wide enrollment will return to or approach 2019 levels.”

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