High gas prices drive students to computers

High gas prices drive students to computers

High gas prices drive students to computers

Auriel Brown

Convenience plays an important role to the commuter students at Southern.

With an increase in financial issues and other personal factors, students are looking to Lifelong Learning for alternative solutions for classes.

Dr. Jack Spurlin, director of Lifelong Learning, said there has been an increase each semester in online courses for students.

“This semester, we have just a little over 800 students who are strictly online Internet students; they never come to campus,” Spurlin said. “A lot of them have very busy lives; they work full-time jobs, they have families, and it fits into their schedules.”

For full-time distance students, Spurlin said not having to pay extra fees such as parking, makes computer-usage situations much easier.

He said with the increase in gas prices, students have even more of a reason to look towards online courses. Having once been a commuter student himself, Spurlin said he understands what many commuter students are facing.

“I never started college until I was 27 and when I started, I had a full-time job, a wife and two kids,” he said. “To go through that traditional classroom setting was hard on me. To think about all that gas and the time I spent on the road, it would’ve been much more effective for me if I could’ve done it at my own leisure.”

Jerry Guy, sophomore international business major, said because many students do not have the highest income, the University should take steps to alleviate the problems with gas price increases for students.

“They should give a $500 gas grant each semester,” Guy said. “Then they should disperse it on a gas card instead of cash to make sure students use it.”

Carol Carlin, junior dental hygiene major said faculty could also combine some of the courses so students would not have as many days to travel to campus for class.

Due to some department program requirements, some off campus students do not have the option of taking online courses.

Jamie Shackelford, junior dental hygiene major travels from Fayetteville, Ark. for classes.

“I travel at least 90 to 100 miles everyday,” she said. “I probably spend about $40 a week on gas. If [Dental Hygiene] program was offered online, I’d probably do it.”