Gas Prices Drive Students to Online Courses

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By JEFFREY R. YOUNG

For Christy LaBadie, a sophomore at Northampton Community College, the 30-minute drive from her home to the Bethlehem, Pa., campus has become a financial hardship now that gasoline prices have soared to more than $4 a gallon. So this semester she decided to take an online course to save herself the trip ???and the money.

“I would prefer to actually go to school and be there to do it,” says Ms. LaBadie, a single mother working toward a degree in medical administration. “But it’s hard enough paying tuition, much less the price of gas.”

Students around the country are echoing Ms. LaBadie’s complaint, and online education is booming as a result. Many institutions say their online summer enrollments have jumped significantly, compared with last summer’s, and that fuel prices are a key factor in the increase.

The Tennessee Board of Regents, for instance, reports that summer enrollment in online courses is up 29 percent this summer over last year. At Brevard Community College, in Cocoa, Fla., summer enrollment in online courses is up nearly 25 percent. Harrisburg Area Community College, in Pennsylvania, saw its summer online enrollment rise 15 percent to 20 percent. At Northampton summer online enrollment is up 18 percent.

Read the whole article: Gas Prices & Online Courses

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