Families may turn to community colleges as an option during pandemic

Safety, finances and online learning may play a part of increased interest at Lakeland Community College.
Updated: May. 27, 2020 at 1:20 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Administrators at Lakeland Community College, including Provost Dr. Laura Barnard, are hoping that local families take a close look at what they have to offer as the coronavirus pandemic has made for a challenging time in higher education.

“There are so many options now for people, and so many things to think about,” said Dr. Barnard.

Families have become increasingly concerned with safety, finances and the quality of online learning students are receiving at four-year universities.

Safety may be at the top of that list for some families as some may struggle deciding whether or not to send their students back to universities around the country to live in close proximity to other students in dorms and off-campus housing.

“Some parents and students are re-thinking whether they want to have a residential experience in the fall,” Dr. Barnard said.

Most community college students live at home and having their children home in the fall, instead of in a dorm may appeal to some parents right now.

And as the virus has taken a huge economic toll on some families, finances are crucial to any decision that must be made regarding education in the fall.

The cost to attend a community college, like Lakeland, is significantly less than attending a four-year university.

“With people having suffered adverse economic consequences to their pocketbooks right now many people are saying Lakeland would be great, at a fraction of the cost,” Dr. Barnard said.

Also at issue, in some cases, at four-year universities, has been the quality of online learning.

At Lakeland, Dr. Barnard says, an online curriculum has been a staple of the college for years.

“We deliver a lot of our programs fully online, we always have and we always will,” Dr. Barnard said, “So you’re assured of a really high quality education.”

Dr. Barnard added that Lakeland has had a very successful summer of online learning and they are eager to see how fall enrollment plays out as families consider their options.

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