Why Community Colleges are Cutting Friday Classes
Learn about how budgetary constraints are prompting community colleges to only offer four-day school weeks.
While some community colleges are cutting costs by boosting tuition rates or reducing instructor positions, other campuses have found an alternative approach. In lieu of sacrificing community college resources, some schools are implementing summer programs that are only four days long.
Leaders of these programs assert that by closing the school one day early each week, the school will be able to save on common costs, such as electricity, water, air conditioning, security, and additional day-to-day expenses.
This new approach, however, is not taking effect without ruffling a few feathers. Opponents of this plan argue that both students and faculty will be overwhelmed with longer work hours that are crammed into a shorter time period. While leaders have not yet found the perfect solution, many community college students are awaiting the reports and results of these proposed schedule changes.
The Four Day School Week
Community colleges have been inspired by how the corporate world has minimized their expenses in the face of a recession. To strengthen their bottom lines, many companies have offered their employees with the option to work from home or work four days instead of the standard five. By allowing employees to complete their work in just four days, companies have discovered that their facility costs have dropped, while employees have also benefitted from saving money on fuel. This approach, however, does not leave all participants with a happy smile.
As the News and Observer reveal, Durham Technical Community College (DTCC), located in North Carolina, is one of the schools implementing the four-day schedule. While Durham Tech leaders believe this is a cost-effective program, many faculty members and instructors argue that requiring employees to work 10 hour days will ultimately become exhausting and arduous.
However, DTCC faces few alternatives. With revenue cuts from both the state and county, DTCC is being forced to return $140,000 from its current budget to accommodate the country's soaring budget deficit. With this conflict, Durham Tech’s president, Will Ingram, has tried to amend any feelings of frustration amongst their faculty, “Although we realize our employees may experience some hardships changing their schedule to work 10-hour days, they will also see some personal savings by traveling to work only four days a week instead of five.” With this optimistic outlook, leaders are hoping that faculty members will ultimately enjoy and benefit from the shorter work week. Leaders are already seeing the perks, as this four-day schedule is anticipated to bring in over $30,000 in savings from cutting utility costs alone!
Furthermore, as CBS Local News reveals, Broward Community College, located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is also implementing a four-day schedule to cut back on the school’s spending. Only implementing this change for the summer semester, Broward will offer classes on campus just four days a week from May 11th to August 14th. Explaining this shift, Broward President, J. David Armstrong, explains, “During the past challenging budget year, and with an eye to future reductions in funding, the college has undertaken several strategies to reduce fixed operational costs. Our first priority remains to keep our students and faculty in the classroom, maintain access to higher education for county residents, and provide students with excellent support services.”
While some faculty and students still express concern over these changes, Broward officials assert that the school’s libraries and child-care centers will still continue to offer services five days per week. Yet Broward is not the only Florida community college seeking to save dollars with this new schedule, as Florida International University, Palm Beach Community College, Hillsborough Community College and Lake City Community College are also now implementing a four-day summer schedule.
How Does the Four Day Schedule Work?
While each community college may offer its own unique four-day agenda, most schools typically increase the number of classes each day. For example, Durham Tech students will be able to attend summer classes during both the day and evening on Monday through Thursdays, and students will also have access to the public school areas from 8 am to 6:30 pm.
While classes will not be open on Fridays, the school leaders promise that students can still attend instructional activities that are not dependent on college facilities on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. For example, students can still participate in their class requirements by attending their clinical instruction at local hospitals, working with cooperative facilities, and so forth.
As the economic recession continues, a four day school week may become the norm for many community colleges around the country.
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