MARIETTA, OHIO—The continued unknowns of COVID-19 and the related economic fallout continue to give students and families uncertainty about their college plans for the coming fall. To help first-year students feel confident about their college decisions, Ohio’s community colleges have come together in a new effort to show the benefits of staying local and staying home for their first year of college. Launched by the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC), the campaign “Year 1 at Home” encourages families to consider their local community college as their college of first choice this fall.
There is no guarantee that residential campus plans will not end up changing in the fall as they did last spring, diverting the tens of thousands of dollars families originally intended for in-person classes and student life experiences to online classes. “During these challenging times, many students need assurances about the availability and affordability of their college classes. Why should students subject themselves to the uncertainty, the risk and the high cost of instruction that is essentially the same at a community college,” said Jack Hershey, President and CEO of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges.
The solution the OACC proposes is for families and students to take advantage of the lower tuition rates, easily transferable general education credits, and vast experience in online instruction found at their local community college. Washington State Community College (WSCC) has honed an expertise in online instruction since 2001 and boasts one of the most affordable tuition rates in the state. The college offers a number of articulation agreements with public and private colleges that make program credit transfer seamless. Beyond these agreements, Washington State also offers a robust mix of general education courses that transfer to both public and public institutions throughout Ohio and beyond. This means students can take Year 1 at Home and know their credits transfer easily.
“Washington State is proud to have long-standing partnerships with excellent public and private colleges that can make us a perfect stepping-stone to a four-year degree,” said WSCC’s Vice President of Institutional Advancement Amanda Herb. “Whether students opt to take just one semester of general education classes with us or pursue our two-year degree designed specifically for transfer, students can stay on track to complete their degree on time and save thousands of dollars.”
In addition to these benefits, Washington State is extremely responsive to the workforce needs of the region. The college provides training for some of the area’s most in-demand jobs, including frontline and behind-the-scenes healthcare careers, robotics and mechatronics, and more.
Students can apply to WSCC for free, with no commitment to enroll. In such uncertain times, this gives students a backup plan that helps them feel confident about their educational futures, no matter what happens this fall. While Washington State doesn’t have an application deadline, students are highly encouraged to apply by July 17. If the current public health environment suddenly improves, making it possible for residential campuses to open safety with no risk of closing or switching to online instruction again, students can simply shift gears and move ahead with four-year, residential plans.
“It important to remind students of these alternatives because we understand how academic and financial decisions will impact their futures,” said Herb. “Sometimes the best solution can be right here in your backyard. We’re encouraged to see that families are finally realizing that the pathway to a four-year degree doesn’t have to mean four years of paying high tuition rates. By enrolling in a community college, families can help their students achieve a bachelor’s degree with significantly less debt.”
For more information on the benefits of Year 1 at Home for yourself or your recent grad, contact Washington State Community College at 740.568.1900 or visit https://www.wscc.edu/future/visit-us/.