Spring Semester May Start Earlier in 2014

Jonathan Caballeros, El Vaquero Staff Writer

Glendale Community College Interim President/Superintendent Jim Riggs has proposed to move the spring 2014 semester to mid-January to help students succeed at a faster pace and to save money for college in the process.

The movement of the spring 2014 session would allow the campus to have a shorter break from winter to spring, while allowing at least two summer sessions, from June to July. High school students can take part in higher learning and returning college students will be able to take more classes during summer.

“Moving spring 2014 to January, and without having winter session classes, students should be able to finish a year of classes in nine months,” said Ron Nakasone, executive vice president of administrative services.

The one month move would also allow high school students to take classes at GCC during the summer, given special permission from their school.

“The move helps the college synchronize with the Glendale Unified School District,” said Riggs. “Now high school students can earn college credits and help them with their college careers.”

“Whether that’s going to be here at GCC or at another campus.“

On top of helping students on campus finish their classes faster, it will also help the campus save money, by allowing it to shut down for about one to two weeks in summer to save energy costs.

“The college would see savings of around $300,000 per year simply by closing the campus for around two weeks during summer,” said Riggs. “It would allow the campus to put those extra funds in other programs or just save the money to help the campus during a fiscal crisis.”

To some students, having two summer sessions would help them.

“The more time I can be in school, the faster I can transfer to a four-year [university],” said Harut Sarkissian, 19, a biology major. “I would be able to finish in two years.”

To some students, it’s a new idea to think about.

“I don’t know how I would feel about it, since that’s when I make the most money,” said Erick Barrientos, 20, a communications major. “I would maybe take one class, considering how hard it is to get classes during the regular semesters.”

For high school students, it just depends on the cost.

“If my classes can be paid for then I’d definitely take some,” said Kymberly Flores, 18, a high school student at El Camino Nuevo high school. “I’d like to be able to finish college faster and easier.”

Nakasone said that moving to spring would be not only cost efficient, but would also make GCC far more competitive in retaining students.

“We know that some students end up taking summer classes at Pasadena [City College],” said Nakasone. “What we would like to happen here is to keep those students here, to better retain students at Glendale and to also help the college save money with this move.”

Although the movement of spring semester is still just a proposal, Riggs believes the move is certain.

“We won’t know for about a month if the move is assured, but I believe it will definitely happen,” said Riggs.

Whether the proposal passes or not is in the hands of the board of trustees and whether they think the college will benefit from the change. For now, the college still only has one summer 2013 session.