Opinion: Give me your tired, your poor, your crowded masses yearning for online courses – Serving the Fullerton community since 1922
The pandemic was terrible. But there was a silver lining for me and others like me: online courses.
When Fullerton College released the Spring 2022 calendar, it was a clear return to in-person learning on campus. You know how it used to be. It’s a step towards normalcy, and the data suggests that in-person learning is more effective than online learning.
However, Fullerton College had 4,379 other reasons for bringing the majority of classes back to campus. The number of enrollments in fall 2019 was 23,087. In fall 2021, it had fallen to 18,708. This represents a drop of about 19% in the number of students since the start of the pandemic.
While 19% is not good, it is actually better than the national average. Data from the US Census Bureau estimates that 30% of students in the United States have canceled their enrollment plans for fall 2021.
Will returning to classes on campus result in an increase in enrollment? May be. Immunization mandates will undoubtedly play a role, the importance of a role remains to be seen, and the situation seems to be changing even now.
If face-to-face learning is better for the student and means more enrollment, win / win, right? Not for all of us. Some of us just can’t put school first over our job. Online courses allow us to do both.
The only area of ââeducation that has seen an increase in enrollment during the pandemic is in for-profit colleges. But, in a world where Fullerton College and other schools like this one were taking courses almost entirely online, why choose a for-profit school?
Well, for-profit schools spend a lot on marketing. According to a study by the Brookings Institution, for-profit schools spent $ 400 per student in 2017 on marketing. Compared to just $ 14 per student spent by public colleges. In other words, a lot of people just didn’t know it was an option.
For others, for-profit schools provide flexibility that places like Fullerton College simply cannot guarantee.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a 2-year degree at a public institution cost $ 10,950 in 2018-19. Among for-profit hunches, that number was almost triple to $ 28,627.
For the record, as someone who has now done both, I can tell you Fullerton College was way less than that and provided me with a much better education than the for-profit school I attended. . On top of that, graduating from a for-profit school just isn’t something I conduct a conversation with. But, conversely, I am proud to be a Hornet.
This is where the UC, CSU, and California Community College systems should take note. Keeping online options available to students could be the key to bringing enrollment back to pre-pandemic levels.
Selfishly, I want Fullerton College to keep as many options online as possible because it means I have more flexibility. But I also believe this is a way forward for California public colleges.
The good news is that Governor Newsom’s 2021-22 budget proposal called on California’s public colleges and universities to continuously increase online courses by at least 10% from pre-pandemic levels. Fullerton College has gone beyond that. As of fall 2019, Fullerton College offered 16.4% of its courses online. As of spring 2022, it is estimated that approximately 38% of courses will be offered online.
It is a big leap and a step in the right direction. I hope it stays that way so that even more people can share the incredible experience that is Fullerton College.
Dustin Malek (He / Him) is a journalism student residing in Fullerton, California. In his spare time he enjoys hiking and biking in the city.