The Oracle

An affordable J-term

J-term prices rise and enrollment drops

Emily Brown, Senior Columnist

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Last year, Hamline made the decision to charge their students $2,400 to take a j-term class in addition to the yearly tuition. This caused a major drop in students registering for and taking courses between the fall and spring semesters. Understandably so, many students rely on scholarships, loans and working long hours just to pay for their regular tuition and can’t afford or can’t justify paying $2,400 for a single class.

This change has caused the number of J-term registrations to drop to a concerning rate. My FYSem teacher always teaches a specific class during J-term. While he usually has a waitlist to get into this class, he only had two people sign up for the class this past J -erm and he ended up cancelling his J-term class for the first time in a decade.

I can’t imagine this is an isolated incident. According to Piperline, a concerning amount of the classes for 2019 J-term were only half way filled. Gender Politics for example, had 8 out of 25 seats filled. I am a first-year and I don’t know how full J-term classes got in the past but, looking at how full classes get in fall and spring semesters and hearing stories from upperclassmen, I feel as though it’s safe to say that J-term attendance has decreased.

Everyone loses when J-term costs extra money. Students lose out on a chance to get ahead in their education, Hamline loses people registering for classes, and teachers lose students who would take the class if it was free. ”

This isn’t just my estimate. Hamline itself knows J-term attendance is down. Instead of admitting it’s because J-term is no longer free, they sent out a survey via HUSC asking students what they could do to improve J-term so more students will take a J-term class. These options included moving J-term to May term, getting rid of J-term and having the month of January off, and getting rid of J-term and starting spring semester two weeks earlier than normal. The survey first asked how the person would like each option from one to six (one being the worst; six being the best.) They then asked us to rank the options to most favorable to least favorable (one and six respectively.)

They made the decision to charge students for J-term classes because Hamline is losing some money and they thought they could make money by charging for J-term classes. I don’t know if it’s working due to the massive drop of students taking J-term classes. Hamline has tried to make more money by charging J-term. But since a lot of students didn’t sign up for the classes because of the price tag, Hamline didn’t make as much money they were probably hoping for. And now, we need to talk about whether or not it is actually worth it. To Hamline? To teachers? To students?

Everyone loses when J-term costs extra money. Students lose out on a chance to get ahead in their education, Hamline loses people registering for classes, and teachers lose students who would take the class if it was free. While I sympathize with Hamline for being low on money, J-term might not be the best option to get that money back. It’s unfair to the students and the teachers.

I should be applauding Hamline for sending out the survey. It seems as though they care about our opinions. And I think they do. I think they want to see what option more students want and what option would get the most people to register for the stand alone class.

This may be my cynicism but, it feels as though the survey was a cover up to the real reason registration is down, the high price tag. I feel as though this problem could be easily fixed with a simple question: Would you be more inclined to take a J-term class if it was free of charge? Yes or no?

If Hamline really cares about their students, listen to us! If you can’t make J-term free, at least make it affordable. Can’t we find a compromise that benefits everyone involved?

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An affordable J-term