Surging gas prices, poor wages, and the general rise in the cost of living, are forcing an increasing number of students to enroll in online courses to save money on the cost of commuting. Despite many instructors concerns about the quality of online classes and the lower retention rate in them, universities across the country are expanding their online class offerings and the maximum class size of such courses. Enrollment in online courses was already rising steadily because of their flexibility and often less rigorous requirements, but the speed of that growth has recently increased in correlation to the cost of fuel. The engineering school Villanova University reported a 40 percent increase in online enrollment for their summer courses and programs director said they have “attributed it to the huge gas prices.” An online poll was conducted at Victoria College in Texas and 42% of the respondents said they planned on taking online courses specifically because of fuel costs. One can argue about the advantages and disadvantages of an online education, but many students would prefer to attend an actual classroom and are settling for an alternative they would not choose could they afford to do otherwise. There are hard decisions everywhere. As much as these students are sacrificing because of finances, there are many more who will not be able to take any type of course because of monetary constraints.

Comments are closed.