Gas Prices Produce Spike in Online Classes

Students prefer classrooms, but not commute to campus
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2008 6:29 AM CDT
Laurel Ranticelli looks at her University of Massachusetts online class information, Tuesday, July 1, 2008, at her home in Springfield, Mass. Tthe recent spike in gas prices has fueled a surge in students...   (AP Photo/Lisa Poole)
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(Newser) – Thousands of American students have begun to take college courses over the Internet in response to rising fuel costs, writes the New York Times. Universities across the country have seen enrollment in online classes spike—some more than 50 to 100%—with the biggest jumps at 2-year community colleges, where most students commute to campus. The rise in online enrollment reverses a slowdown in previous years.

Many students interviewed said that they had chosen online courses for financial reasons, though they preferred learning in a classroom setting. "I don’t feel I get as much out of an online class as a campus course," said one. "But I couldn’t afford any other decision." Nationwide, 79% of college students live off-campus.