LORAIN, Ohio — As concerns rise about the spread of COVID-19 on college campuses, some students are transferring to community colleges closer to home. Not only can the switch help them stay on track academically, but also financially.
“It was the only school I applied to, and you know, COVID-19 happened. Then, you’re out of school for a couple months,” said Paige Dillen, a guest student at Lorain County Community College (LCCC).
Dillen thought she was set for her first year at a different northeast Ohio four-year university. Then, the pandemic turned her life around. After the school converted most of her classes to online courses, she didn’t want to live on campus anymore.
“It’s about $12,000 a year to stay on campus, and for my classes to be remote, that was a little out of my budget or what I was willing to spend. So, I decided to go to Lorain County Community College to save a bunch of money,” Dillen said.
A study from the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College finds that students who took just a few courses had a higher completion rate for Bachelor’s degrees compared to four-year students who earned no community college credits.
“We are seeing quite a bit our academic advisors this past week have been working with a lot of families deciding to make the transition away from a four-year university,” said Marisa Vernon White, the vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Services at LCCC.
She said students and their families are just being cautious during these uncertain times.
“The economy is certainly affecting families and students, specifically so even outside of health and safety concerns,” said Vernon White. “Many students are looking for alternatives to whatever their plans were for the fall semester just given the strains that (are) maybe on their families this year.”
At this point, Dillen hopes the pandemic doesn’t interrupt any more of her college plans.
“I was scared, per se, but just afraid the numbers would spike, and we’d all get sent home again,” Dillen said. “Then, you’d miss out on all that money when you are stuck at home again.”