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Community Colleges on the Rise — Why Online Courses Will Maximize Growth

February 26, 2009

–by Dr. Jacquelyn G. Abromitis

Community colleges are rapidly growing during this recession (Kalahar 2009; Lindsay 2009; Sampson 2009; Portland Community College sees growth in tough economic times 2009) due to consumers being far more discriminating about where they are spending their dollars. Community colleges can maximize growth by increasing their online course and programs.

Nationwide, the average annual cost of attending community college is $2,361, compared with $6,185 in tuition and fees for an in-state public school. Average annual room and board at a public four-year school is $7,404, according to the most recent figures from the College Board, which tracks average tuition costs. (Sampson 2009)

How can community colleges parlay the interest and increased enrollments to even greater extents? By increasing the number of online courses they offer. Here are five reasons why a larger catalog of online courses will help the community colleges grow to their maximum potential:

1. The larger a college’s online catalog, the more likely they will be to attract students from out of county. Even at out-of-county rates, the community colleges are “price performers.” Students are often have name-recognition of the county colleges in their state – even those too far away, geographically. Increasing the online catalog capitalizes on name recognition and in addition to competitive tuition rates and will increase out of county enrollments.

2. In county students who are restricted by the times and days that courses are offered will have the opportunity to add courses. Many students have multiple jobs and/or family time demands, making it very difficult for them to come to campus as prescribed times. These students are ideal candidates for online courses. Marketing online courses to time restricted students has the potential of increasing enrollments.

3. The more courses a school offers, the more appealing they are. If your college has a limited number of courses in your catalog, you’re losing students. Students are wise consumers. If only part of their degree program is offered online, they know there is a huge roadblock in their education – getting to campus when the online courses run out. Students shopping for fully online programs or certificates will go elsewhere if your college is not offering your entire complement of courses and programs online. Increase your online offerings – and increase your enrollments.

4. Save on bricks and mortar expenses – you can add an endless number of online courses and sections to your catalog without having to schedule classrooms and physical resources. There are no heating or electric bills, security, or maintenance bills for online courses. And parking is never an issue!

5. A college’s image and reputation are worth their weight in gold. A college that does not have an extensive online catalog is viewed upon as antiquated and irrelevant. The 21st century demands technological skills of all citizens and workers. By not providing online courses, schools are not preparing their students to be competitive.

We at Abromitis Online Learning are experts in developing courses for community colleges. We can provide Ready to Adopt courses for schools like to get up and running immediately. We can also Custom Develop any course you need – whether it would be adapting a current on-ground course and creating a brand new course. Contact Us to discuss your e-learning needs.

References
Kalahar, Jon. Community college enrollment increases in poor economy. Retrieved February 26, 2009, from WLOX.com Web site: http://www.wlox.com/Global/story.asp?S=9 899866

Lindsay, Jacqueline. (2009). Warren County Community College nursing program grows with the times. Retrieved February 26, 2009, from The Warren Reporter Web site:
http://www.nj.com/warrenreporter/index.s sf/2009/02/warren_county_community_colle g_21.html

Portland Community College sees growth in tough economic times. (2009). Retrieved February 26, 2009, from OregonLive.com Web site:
http://www.oregonlive.com/news/argus/ind ex.ssf?/base/news/1235503263196460.xml&a mp;coll=6

Sampson, Zinie Chen. (2009). Weak economy spurs growth for community colleges. Retrieved February 26, 2009, from USA TODAY Web site:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2 008-08-23-economy-comcol_N.htm

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