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Summer Sessions hit record enrollments

Woman sits by river reading textbook

Student demand for summer classes has increased each year, with 2020 being no exception. This year saw record-breaking student enrollment and more enrolled credit hours than any summer before at Boise State University.

Providing opportunities for students

Summer sessions offer students an opportunity to get ahead or stay on track — shifting the mindset to think about year-round education rather than the typical fall and spring semesters. Students enrolled in summer sessions can take advantage of the condensed format of the courses offered, helping them balance a busy schedule. The concentrated schedule allows students to focus on one or two classes at a time while still accessing the same student support as spring or fall semesters like the writing center and personalized tutoring. 

“We offer a robust summer program with a lot of options to help students progress to their degree,” said Director of Summer Sessions Regina Jenkins.

“Our summer student success rates are high, even when you factor in that the students are taking courses in a condensed session,” she added. “That speaks volumes to the support our students have.”

“Our summer student success rates are high — That speaks volumes to the support our students have.”

— Director of Summer Sessions Regina Jenkins

The demand for summer programs by students has increased each year. Eighty percent of graduates from the last academic year enrolled in at least one summer class during their time at Boise State (fall 2019, spring 2020 and summer 2020).

Additionally, 73 percent of freshmen who completed their degree within four years and graduated during the last academic year also took a summer class at Boise State during their tenure. 

A clear path forward

Due to COVID-19, the university decided to host only online and remote courses over the summer 2020 session.  A clear understanding of what summer courses would allow students and faculty to prepare for online instruction. 

With a rapid turnaround time, campus partners like the Center for Teaching and Learning and the eCampus Center paired with faculty and academic departments to shift traditionally on-campus courses to the new modality. These proactive developments retained course offerings and helped students stay on track regardless of their physical location.

The hard work of the faculty and staff paid off with record-breaking numbers for the 2020 summer session. 

The hard work of the faculty and staff paid off with record-breaking numbers for the 2020 summer session.

Boise State saw the largest summer enrollment ever in summer 2020 with more than 10,100 students. These students also enrolled in more credits than ever before, with an increase of seven percent in enrolled credit hours compared to summer 2019. 

The shift to online and remote courses over the summer increased students’ ability across all programs and geographic locations to partake in summer course offerings. Undergraduate students comprised 69.5 percent of overall enrollment, and 63 percent of summer students were Idaho residents. 

Innovation in education

Summer programs help students go beyond the traditional boundaries of spring and fall semesters. Students can use summer to take required courses for their degree or to pursue a certificate, minor, or internship.  

The developments made from shifting courses entirely online for the summer 2020 semester allows future courses and summer sessions to continue to take advantage of remote delivery and provide more access and flexibility to students. 

There are many opportunities to continue to serve students year-round. 

“We’re continually adding to our summer offerings. We’re either adding capacity or changing modality, and instructors are adding new courses all the time to open doors for students,” Jenkins said.

“Instructors are adding new courses all the time to open doors for students. ”

Next summer, plans include taking advantage of the newly increased remote capabilities of instructors to expand course offerings. 

“This new technology allows us to offer classes remotely or record sessions, so even face-to-face classes can offer remote capabilities to expand access to students outside of the Treasure Valley,” said Jenkins.

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About Extended Studies

The Division of Extended Studies expands Boise State University’s impact by facilitating online degrees that can be earned anytime and anywhere, staffing educational centers in surrounding communities, providing professional development opportunities that complement people’s busy careers and offering enriching learning opportunities that community members can enjoy throughout their lifetimes.

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