According to an article in the New York Times most students don’t graduate on time. On average only about 19 percent of full-time students who attend public universities graduate within four years.
According to Sonoma State University’s website, 55.5 percent of students graduate within a reasonable time (3-6 years).
The School of Extended and International Education is offering up to 39 different courses for students to take this year. Courses offered can fulfill GE requirement or major requirements.
Students have benefited from taking these winter courses in order to be able to graduate on time. According to the Julie Shell, an intersession coordinator, the scholarship opportunity increased intersession enrollment by 25 percent from last year.
“I’ve done winter intersession twice,” said Psychology Major Marcela Martinez. “It’s so difficult to get classes during registration, so when they offer an upper division GE ethnic studies course during winter, I’m going to take it.”
Students can take up to a maximum of five units during that four week period, and classes are open to everyone, not just students.
Although some students have benefited from these courses others have not.
“It’s so expensive,” said Pre-Nursing and Spanish Major Jessica Mayer. “I wish I could take a course, but I simply can’t afford it.”
The course base fee for winter intersession averages $239 per unit. For many of those enrolling on a college student budget, that can be unaffordable. However, there are other options. Students can defer their financial aid for the Spring to have it cover the costs of their winter course.
This year the School of Extended Education offered $500 in need based scholarships to students. The scholarship covers approximately half the cost of a 3 unit class offering. Requirements for the scholarships included being in good academic standing, enrolled in at least three units for winter, and have filed for FASFA and/or the Dream Act.
“We made the decision to fund 240 scholarships because it helps more students graduate that much faster and helps more students in need here at Sonoma State of financial assistance,” said Robert Eyler, dean of School of Extended and International Education.
Award letters have gone out to those who have received the scholarship.
“We recieved a ‘thank you’ from a scholarship recipient who mentioned it meant the world to her educational success. She has limited financial support available, and this scholarship will help her finish more units faster, and graduate sooner,” said Jennifer Haynes, marketing coordinator for the School of Extended Education.
The School of Extended Education has already started planning for summer intersession by sending surveys to see what classes students would like offered during the summer.
“The purpose of the survey was to help us better align our summer session planning with students’ needs,” said Shell, coordinator of scheduling, intersession and summer session. “We had 280 responses, mostly from juniors and seniors planning on taking one or two summer classes. In terms of why to take summer classes, 35 percent of respondents said major classes are too impacted, 30 percent want to graduate sooner, and 18 percent said GEs are too impacted.”