By Sean Chase
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, enrollment in summer classes at Grand Rapids Community College had been on the decline. However, on Monday, July 12, GRCC announced enrollment in the 2021 summer semester has increased 7.1% from 2020.
Currently, 6,599 students have enrolled in courses during the two 2021 summer semesters at GRCC. Up from 6,159 students during the 2020 summer semesters. The 2021 summer enrollment is 5.9% higher than the 2019 numbers, where 6,230 students took courses between the two semesters.
GRCC credits these increases to the Future for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect programs. Currently, almost 1,500 students are enrolled in summer courses at GRCC through these programs, which cover in-district tuition costs for eligible students. Out-of-district students are responsible for the remaining half of their tuition.
“As our region recovers from the pandemic, many people are looking to gain new skills to advance in their careers,” stated Tina Hoxie, GRCC associate provost, in a press release. “GRCC is affordable and accessible, especially with the opportunities created by state and local programs. We’re excited many people are taking their first steps back during our summer semester, and can stay on track by enrolling in fall classes.”
Individuals eligible for the Future for Frontliners program must act fast as the deadline to start these benefits is the fall 2021 semester. Fall classes start on Aug. 30, with the majority of offerings being in-person.
In addition to these programs, the GRCC Board of Trustees voted to freeze tuition through fall 2021. GRCC has also reworked the parking fee structure on all downtown parking ramps allowing students to enter and exit the ramps freely and only pay $3.50 a day. Previously, students were charged $3.50 per exit.
“The number is still changing, but between 60 percent and 70 percent of classes will be in person,” wrote Dave Murray, GRCC’s communications director, in an email to The Collegiate. “Prior to COVID, about 80 percent of classes were on campus. We’re seeing many students find hybrid and online classes better fit their schedules and preferences. Our goal is to offer students a variety of options, really working to remove obstacles to higher education, whether that is finances or home and work responsibilities, or even distance.”