Summer school will look a little different this year. While Cuesta College will be cutting almost all of its summer school classes, Cal Poly is offering more than ever, but with a projected change in fee structure.
Both schools’ summer state funding has been cut but Cal Poly will continue to offer classes under the self-supported office of Continuing Education and University Outreach. For students, this means that while California residents will be paying more per unit than ever, out-of-state students might actually be paying less. In addition, more than double the amount of classes will be offered at Cal Poly.
The reason for the reduction in Cuesta’s classes is twofold. One is the elimination of federal stimulus funds for summer school. The other reason is that Cuesta experienced an overflow of enrolled students over the 2009-2010 school year, with approximately 400 students above the state-formulated quota. Officials said the college used money from their general funds to make up the difference.
Cuesta College Vice President Cathleen Greiner said the impacts on students and staff “are just untenable. It is a profound decision and nothing we wanted to do.”
Like Cuesta and the other 23 California State University (CSU) campuses, Cal Poly’s state summer school funding has also been eliminated due to the financial crisis. But the CSU chancellor’s summer school mandate offered several alternative plans. Cal Poly chose to shift the direction of the quarter to the already self-supported office of Continuing Education. In the past, classes have been directed by the Office of the Registrar.
Elaine Sullivan is the marketing director for Continuing Education. She said they traditionally offer classes to un-enrolled adults in the community.
“In terms of why Continuing Education is dealing with the summer term, it’s basically because Continuing Education runs as a self-support function,” Sullivan said. “We have the background and the mechanics in place.”
Biological sciences junior Marrissa Schuman is planning to attend summer school. She said the change isn’t that big of a deal because she is only taking one class, but she added that the lack of Cuesta classes will be hard on her friend, who was planning on attending summer school in order to re-enroll at Cal Poly. Now he, like thousands of other Cuesta students, won’t have that option.
Last year for example, 3,395 students enrolled in Cuesta summer classes. This year, Cuesta will only be offering state-mandated programs, reducing enrollment in 4-credit courses to approximately 84 students.
Greiner said they wanted to focus their resources on offering students a full course load during the coming fall and spring semesters.
“This allows us to create a more certain class schedule for our students and our faculty,” she said.
The first type of courses that will be offered during summer are necessary for year-round emergency services, nursing and psychiatric technician training. Cuesta will also be offering off-campus, non-credit enhancement courses for high school students, taught by high school faculty. Both types of courses they kept are not only year-long programs, according to Cuesta officials, they are needful within the community.
Cal Poly, on the other hand, will be offering approximately 338 courses. This is an increase of more than 170 courses since last year.
In addition, as general education courses fill up, Dennis “Skip” Parks, dean of Continuing Education and University Outreach, said they are planning to create new sections over the course of enrollment.
“I think it’s important to tell students that there’s two messages out there: Summer school is definitely on and people can expect to see as many or more classes than ever before,” Parks said.
While students will have more Cal Poly summer school options, state residents will also be paying more. College of Liberal Arts associate dean Debra Valencia-Laver has been working with Continuing Education to determine what courses will be offered.
“Well, I should say that summer 2010 is going to be a little bit of an experiment all the way around,” she said. “We’re charging a different fee structure than in the past, and we don’t know how popular that will be with Cal Poly students.”
On the other hand, out-of-state and foreign exchange students might find themselves paying less, due to the set-fee structure.
Non-resident Geoff Ledbetter, a mechanical engineering junior from Missouri, said he is planning on attending summer school if he studies abroad later in the year.
“It sounds good to me because I’m out-of-state,” he said. “But either way, I’d consider taking it to stay on track.”
Whether resident or non-resident, the average price-per-unit for summer quarter should be in the $200-plus range, according to Valencia-Laver. The final summer school fee structure has not yet been finalized.
Student accounts director Brett Holman explained that they are still waiting for the last bit of information from California State University officials.
“It’s been a little bit of a moving target because information is still trickling in the from the chancellor’s office about what we’re allowed to charge,” Holman said. “But we want to get the students as much advance notice as possible. We’re not that far away from summer registration.”
Either way, Holman said Cal Poly students will most likely be charged on a fee-per-unit basis, unlike the rest of the year’s half-time and full-time conglomerate sums.
Financial aid students, on the other hand, might find things a bit different. Summer is the ‘left-over’ quarter for financial aid. Grant and loan eligibility, according to financial aid director Lois Kelly, is primarily based on the first three quarters of the financial aid year.
“If you’re looking at a typical academic year, most of the enrollment activity occurs in the fall, winter and spring, and we base our calendar upon that,” said Kelly.
Since financial aid eligibility is student-specific, Kelly said it’s impossible to make a blanket statement about who will be eligible.
“I can’t just say all students are eligible,” she said. “But no student should make the assumption there’s no remaining financial aid.”
From a student perspective, the shift in fees will be the most noticeable difference.
“But in terms of how you are going to register, it’s going to be just like you always do. It’s going to be seamless,” Sullivan said.