GRCC expands 7-week courses to make college education more accessible

Feb. 18, 2020 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Grand Rapids Community College is increasing the number of seven-week courses it offers as part of an effort to make an affordable degree more accessible, helping people advance in their lives and careers.

The additional seven-week classes complement current offerings that provide flexibility to students, intended to help people continue or start an education that can transform their lives. The college will have about 130 sections across disciplines available for the fall 2020 semester.

Seven-week courses offer the same amount of content as a full-semester class, but with longer sessions and an abbreviated schedule. A number of classes are available online.

“Earning a degree is important for people looking to advance their careers, and we know many people have work and home responsibilities that may make it difficult to attend class with the traditional schedule,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “We’re being responsive to those needs and busy schedules, creating more opportunities for people to connect when it works best for them.”

GRCC is the most affordable option for people, with tuition costing $115 per credit hour for in-district students, compared to an average of $497 per credit hour at Michigan’s public universities. The college also has staff members trained to help students determine if they are eligible for financial aid.

The School of Arts and Sciences is planning nearly 40 sections in subjects such as biological and physical sciences, English, math, social sciences, and music.

The School of Workforce Development has about 90 sections scheduled. Among those subjects are computer information systems, the manufacturing fields, and culinary arts.

Provost Brian Knetl said the accelerated schedule is especially helpful for people who might have started work toward a degree but were interrupted before they could finish.

Open registration for new students starts March 19. Current students with 12 or more credits can start registering on March 10, and those with 11 credits or fewer can register starting March 17.

“We are looking for ways to remove any obstacles to people starting – or completing – their education,” Knetl said. “We know there are many people who might be a class or two from completing that degree, and it can make a difference for them as they move forward. The traditional schedule might not work for people who are working around jobs and family obligations.”

The expansion of seven-week classes follows GRCC adding Saturday courses this semester in subjects including algebra, English, and sociology.

The efforts complement current offerings that provide flexibility to students, including fully online classes and hybrid classes that allow students to work online in addition to classroom sessions.

Knetl said the college will use this upcoming year to determine if the seven-week and Saturday schedules work for students, and strategically add sections to meet demand.

About 280,000 adults in Kent and Ottawa counties had not attended college or had not completed a degree or certificate, according to 2017 statistics from the federal government’s American Communities Survey.

GRCC’s expanded offerings come as state leaders call for increasing the number of Michiganders with college degrees or certificates, and adding programs to help reduce costs of attending for residents ages 25 and older.

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.

Additional information about seven-week classes is available here.



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