Community Colleges Extend Hours for Students


As enrollment for community colleges in the Washington area continues to increase, and with state funds continually decreasing, school officials are finding ways to offer more classes in somewhat unconventional ways, reports the Washington Post.

At Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC), Virginia’s largest college, enrollment has rose to nearly 12,000 students-a 10 percent increase. As a result, officials are offering graveyard shift classes to accommodate all its students. Classes now begin at 6:30 a.m. and end at 10:10 p.m.

Additionally, the college offers early morning courses on Sundays, and 11 courses taught on Saturdays.

Other schools in the area, including Howard Community College, where enrollment is up to 8,778 from 7,905, are experimenting with “hybrid” classes. The courses are taught partly online, partly in the classroom. There are also courses that are taught completely online.

Some administrators have expressed concern for students who sign up for graveyard shift classes or online classes. They believe the absentee rate for these courses could rise, and that those who are signed up for online courses could fall behind.

However, most colleges do not want to turn students away, and thus believe the alternative of expanding hours and offering online courses is beneficial. According to the Post, a Maryland Association of Community Colleges survey discovered that 16 community colleges had lost nearly 2,000 students for its lack of available course sections.

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