4 Year Credits With Online Community College Classes

Experts claim that taking online courses at community colleges can have several benefits, such as lowering the cost of education. The classes are not always a silver bullet, however. Students are recommended to do their research before they sign up for an online course at a random school. Officials at Ivy Tech, the nation's largest community college system, say that they have noticed an uptick in the number of students at four year colleges enrolling in their online courses instead. Ivy Tech President Tom Snyder claims that the increase is tied to affordability; community college classes are cheaper than their four year counterparts at universities.

Online courses at a community college also often have a small class size and can help students to fulfill their degree requirements when classes at the four year institution are full. The flexibility provided by online courses is also a draw. Although juggling work and school is difficult, taking online classes at Ivy Tech and a four year college provides the freedom to pursue a degree on the individual's own schedule. Other community colleges are also noticing the transfer trend. Arizona's Glendale Community College has seen an increase in students taking courses online with the intent to transfer those credits to a state or private university.

Many of the guest students at Glendale are taking courses covering subjects that they have struggled with in the past or are taking more challenging courses over the summer so that they can devote their time to it more earnestly. Taking an online community college course provides them with the chance to be in a smaller class and benefit from free tutoring over a period of time. Yet before students start flocking to online courses at community colleges., experts suggest that students should check whether they can transfer their courses and actually save money in the process. In many parts of the country, public four year institutions are adopting agreements with community colleges that will allow students to be able to easily transfer credits between the schools. However, the progress has been slow.

Before signing up for an online community college course intended for transfer, students should determine whether or not the course will be able to fit the degree requirements of their home institution. Although a four year institution may be able to accept credit for the course, it may not count towards a specific major or minor, which can work against the student' s goals in the long run. Students can also only use their federal financial aid at one college, although some colleges participate in consortia agreements that would allow for students to enroll in a partner college while maintaining the aid eligibility in their home institution. Students should also factor in additional costs such as admission feeds, charges for entrance tests, technology, and various class fees. Although fees are very low for most community colleges, they will vary depending the types of elements that are being used and the laws for the state.