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Free college plan may boost enrollment

Many colleges and universities have already written off the Spring/Summer semester. For its part, WCC has announced that it will offer an online-only semester. The Spring/Summer semester has become an important tool to boost enrollment at WCC. University students often take classes over the summer and transfer the credit back to their institutions in the fall.

Some institutions are already looking at all possible options for the fall semester. What will the fall semester look like? Will colleges and universities be able to conduct classes in person? What will enrollments look like? Students may to return to campus in the fall for in-person instruction, but will they?

Community colleges often compete for students with the labor market. Many community college students attend classes only when they believe that they can successfully balance work and school. If they feel extraordinary pressure to work in the fall – perhaps to make up for wages they lost in the spring – returning to campus may seem out of the question.

WCC needs to make returning to school as easy as possible. That may include developing creative tuition packages that offer breaks to students who have been economically impacted by the pandemic.

Last year, WCC Trustees and the President expressed doubt regarding the Governor’s free community college tuition proposal. Offering people who have lost their jobs or can’t find work could boost enrollment at the state’s community colleges. At the same time, it could help achieve the Governor’s goal of increasing the number of Michigan residents with post-secondary degrees.

It is time for the WCC trustees and the administration to put politics aside and take up the challenge of bringing students back to the classroom.

Photo Credit: Kit Ng , via Flickr