Are Summer Classes Really Cheaper?

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For college students, graduating in four years has always been the ideal plan, but sometimes life can get in the way. Students who are double majoring or need to catch up to graduate on time usually look to taking summer classes to help them out. However, despite the 25 percent reduction on tuition, classes are still too expensive, and the guaranteed financial aid for the four years at Seattle University does not carry over into the summer.

Seattle U’s policy on the issue reads: “The university does not offer financial aid for summer quarter if providing that aid will reduce or jeopardize the amount of aid available to meet costs during the regular academic year.”

In other words, a student cannot use their scholarships, grants and loans towards summer classes unless they want to take it away from the regular academic school year for fall, winter and spring quarters.

Third-year Marketing and Management double major Alyssa Kirkpatrick planned on taking one online summer class to fulfill a UCOR requirement but has had trouble deciding if the class is worth spending that much money on. Because of her double major and the way her credits turned out, this class doesn’t fit into her four-year plan. Kirkpatrick is not able to overload during the regular academic year and is dissatisfied with not having financial aid for the summer quarter. She finds it ridiculous that taking one extra 5-credit class during the regular academic year does not cost extra money.

“I feel very stressed and frustrated that there’s no financial aid for summer courses,” Kirkpatrick said. “I usually take out loans to pay tuition for the school year, but having a class in the summer doesn’t allow me to pay for it within the time period of my loan, so I have to pay out-of-pocket.”

Kirkpatrick is still debating on whether taking the course at Seattle U is worth it with her busy schedule during the summer as an Orientation Coordinator, and hopes to be approved to overload or to take classes at Seattle Central College instead.

“I plan on talking to my advisor to see if there’s any way I can still overload, because the summer class is such a financial burden,” Kirkpatrick said. “She didn’t mention anything about overloading beforehand and just suggested that I take the summer class, so I wonder how that’ll play out.”

Most students are required to take an internship for credit for at least one quarter during their time at Seattle U. Third-year Strategic Communications major Julia Olson recently inquired how that would work for her internship in the summer, and found the university’s pricing to be extremely expensive.

“I got the internship on my own without Seattle U and they would not be involved in it at all, but I would still [be] paying $2,000,” Olson said. “It is unpaid so I’d be paying someone to work for them, which is wild.”

Director of University Summer Programs Geneva Lasprogata spoke to how the summer programs office works to look at the current trends and data to better structure it for the students who expect to stay on the path that was guaranteed for them.

“We’re actually going to be taking that information and looking at it in a way that we can make it predictive and useful for planning purposes better for students first and foremost right but also for the university,” Lasprogata said.

More faculty are stepping up to be trained and approved to teach classes online, which could help for more classes to be available in the core curriculum and individual college departments.

Seattle U has recently added to their policy that Pell Grant recipients can use their aid towards summer quarter classes, but the catch-22 of this exception is that they would not be able to receive the 25 percent tuition reduction advertised to everyone else.

Lasprogata spoke to how she played more of a middle-man when trying to connect students with their advisors and financial aid representatives when it came to summer courses, but hopes to fulfill a larger role in the future and is open to more discussions surrounding how to improve the structure of summer classes.

“What we’ve done is, we package the information and share it with the advisors and we’re sharing it as students come to us,” Lasprogata said. “But we’ve not had a forum and that is an awesome idea, I’d totally be open to doing that.”

The University Summer Programs will be hosting open forums for students to join in and have conversations with faculty and staff members if they are even slightly interested in taking a summer course. These forums will be held on May 16 and May 17.

Frances may be reached at
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