Things to consider when deciding where to take summer classes

By Portia Kerr-Newman

It’s getting close to the end of the school year and students are wrapping up midterms and preparing for final exams. While some students are excited for their chance to relax following the stressful school year, not everyone is going to take a break for the summer.

Some students want to continue their education throughout the summer either to graduate early or to lighten the load for the fall and spring semesters. There are several options for summer classes, so you may want to know if you’ll be better off staying here at NIU or going to a community college.

Typically, community colleges have lower tuition rates than universities. Even though tuition is lower, community colleges don’t offer room and board. According to the Bursar’s Office website, tuition costs for summer courses here range from $294.60-$265 per hour for in-state undergraduate students.

On-campus housing is also available, but local apartments or commuting from home might be cheaper. Students living on campus during the summer have the option of purchasing a meal plan.

Either option you take might have you racking up the money by the thousands. If you are worried that this is starting to sound expensive, you could probably find cheaper prices compared at community colleges.

One alternative for students who want to stay in DeKalb is attending Kishwaukee College for summer classes. Tuition for the summer starts with $89 per credit hour for in-district students, not including student fees and books, according to the Kishwaukee website.

There are no on-campus housing options or meal plans available, but students can commute from home or find an apartment to sublet for the summer in DeKalb.It should be noted, however, that “out-of-district” students will be charged $307 per credit hour.

Besides just thinking about how much school costs, there some other important factors to consider before deciding to take classes at Kishwaukee College instead of NIU.

You should, of course, make sure that the classes you would be taking would fulfill NIU’s requirements. A lot of students don’t know that credits from other schools do not count towards your GPA at NIU even if the credits transfer.

Also, it is more difficult to take a full semester load in the summer due to the condensed time period of the semester.

“Students can take up to nine credit hours; they can request an overload with a counselor if they want to take more,” said Heather McCoy, coordinator of recruitment and orientation at Kishwaukee College.

Finally, you may want to consider that tuition for classes is due May 9 and they start on May 16, so don’t count on having much of a break after the spring semester ends.

Whether you prefer the lower costs of community college or the continuity and familiarity of staying at NIU, summer classes are a good way for students to get ahead in their academic careers.