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Students weigh costs and benefits of summer sessions

By Roger Muñoz

 

For Fresno State students, enrolling in summer school has its benefits, but is the cost driving some students away?

Not according to Scott Moore, dean for the Division of Continuing and Global Education, who said it’s a bit too early to tell, but enrollment seems to have increased.

“Enrollment right now is strong,” Moore said.  “It’s comparable to last year, and demand is a little bit higher.”

Moore said most courses that are offered during summer school require students to pay for units primarily out of pocket.  Currently, the cost for undergraduate courses is $315 per unit, and for graduate courses the cost is $386 per unit. At city colleges in the State Center Community College District (SCCCD), courses are $46 per unit.

“Continuing global education courses, which are most of the summer session courses, are self-supported,” Moore said.  “They’re not subsidized by the state of California and therefore cost more money.”

Financial aid is available in very limited circumstances, Moore said.

“A student has to be enrolled in six units, and those units have to pertain to their discipline,” Moore said.  “They have to have unused financial aid available from the previous semester. There are some students that will find financial aid available, but for the majority that won’t be the case.”

Despite the costs, summer school courses offer students an opportunity to graduate more quickly, Moore said.

“The vast majority of students that are looking to taking a summer school class are trying to decrease the amount of time it takes for them to graduate,” he said.

Israel Ramirez, a junior majoring in business, said he plans to sign up for summer school at a community college to take some economic classes he needs.

“I’m going to go to a community college because it’s cheaper,” Ramirez said.

He said he’s thought about signing up for summer classes at Fresno State, but the cost has turned him away.

Pedro Avila, dean of admissions and records at SCCCD, said an effort was made to double the amount of sections available in Fresno City College, Reedley College, Willow International, Madera Community College Center and Oakhurst Community College Center.

“We doubled the number of sections that we’re offering this summer compared to last summer,” Avila said.  “Last summer, we offered 376 sections in our district.  This summer, we’re offering 679.”

Avila hopes students from four-year colleges are motivated to sign up for courses at community colleges.

“It’s a combination of general [education] and program courses,” Avila said.  “In the summer, we do a lot of general ed to attract students at the four-year colleges.”

Registration opens Thursday for SCCCD summer session.  For more information, go to www.scccd.edu/register. Early registration fees for Fresno State summer session are due May 16. To enroll, visit my.fresnostate.edu.