UPenn sees rise in online summer enrollment as students lose internships

While Penn is not discounting its summer course rate, other universities are.

As the coronavirus pandemic causes students to lose job and internship opportunities, the University of Pennsylvania has seen a 70% increase in summer course enrollment.

As students lose other options for the summer, the University of Pennsylvania is expecting a 70 percent rise in summer course enrollment, even though classes are online.

Vice Dean for Professional and Liberal Education Nora Lewis told the Daily Pennsylvanian that students have taken on 3,700 course units as of May 1, marking a 70 percent increase from May of the previous year. Lewis expects that Penn will add even more classes and number of students enrolled in those classes for the university’s second round of summer courses, which begins July 1. 

This increase in demand is coming as students are losing internship opportunities due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

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A survey by the recruitment software company Yello found that roughly one-third of students who indicated that they had obtained a summer internship offer prior to coronavirus said their offer was canceled. Sixty-four percent of these internships “did not provide any form of alternative offer” or compensation. 

Therefore, millions of students have lost their summer plans and are seeking to finish course requirements in their spare time.

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In spite of Penn announcing that all summer courses would move online due to the coronavirus pandemic, the university did not offer students a discount. The price of each course unit remains at $4,566. Lewis asserts that  the “value of a Penn course unit is the same whether the course is delivered on campus, online, or in a hybrid format.”

Many American university students may disagree. According to a recent poll by Axios and College Reaction, 90 percent of students do not like virtual coursework. More than three in four students stated that distance learning is “worse or much worse” than in-person coursework. Of course, this has significant ramifications for universities as they decide on returning to campus in the fall, with most American universities doing their best to reopen their campuses for in-person instruction.

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Although Penn is not discounting its now-virtual courses, other universities are offering substantial deals for their students. 

American University, a private university in Washington, D.C., is slashing all summer tuition by 10 percent, translating to $1,000 in savings for the average student. The Board of Trustees of Winthrop University, a public school in South Carolina, is cutting summer tuition by 20 percent. Florida Gateway College, a community college, is offering an opportunity to pay for one 3 credit hour online course and take an additional 3 credit course for free.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft