Summer Session keeps students on graduation track

Two students on the lawn outside the SF State library look at a laptop screen.

More than 600 courses, both required and elective, will be offered during Summer Session, and the number of online classes available has increased by more than 13 percent.

Following a decision to major in visual communication design, San Francisco State University student Jex Ponce Nguyen needed to take a much-needed requirement — soon — before moving forward with more advanced courses required of the major. Thanks to Summer Session 2015, Ponce Nguyen was able to take "Digital Media I" and stay on track to graduate in 2017.

It's a move Ponce Nguyen would opt for again if necessary, saying "Overall, the experience was beneficial. The amount of content was intense, but the atmosphere was more relaxed."

Ponce Nguyen is among thousands of SF State students finding their way to Summer Session, where they can take courses they need, pick from a growing range of online classes and take advantage of a change implemented last summer that means nearly half of the student body qualifies for reduced fees.

This year, more than 600 courses, both required and elective, will be offered during Summer Session, and the number of online classes available has increased by more than 13 percent. "Online classes were a significant factor in increased enrollment last summer and are in demand by students who are unable to attend classes on campus," said Jo Volkert, senior associate vice president for enrollment management.

"Last year, more than 5,700 students participated in classes during Summer Session to make progress toward their degrees, an increase of 11 percent over the previous summer," Volkert said. "We focus on offering classes that are in demand and that students may have difficulty getting into during the fall and spring semesters."

The focus on offering more required courses during the summer reflects SF State's commitment to improving the University's six-year graduation rate, part of the California State University Graduation Initiative 2025, said Volkert.

And, for the second consecutive year, students will pay lower fees if they enroll in the required number of units during Summer Session. Students who qualify for a State University Grant (SUG) as part of their financial aid — approximately 46 percent of the student body — will only pay local fees of $189 if they register for six units. Students with Pell grants may apply any remaining funds from their 2015-2016 awards toward Summer Session classes.

Classes will be offered during four sessions that last five, eight and 10 weeks: June ­6­­-July 8, June 20-Aug. 12, July 11-Aug. 12 and June 6-Aug. 12. The full schedule of Summer Session courses is now available online, and registration begins April 4. Priority registration is given to current SF State students, but classes are also open to the public, who can register through Open University.

Tuition for undergraduate students who do not qualify for financial aid is $1,776 for up to six units and $2,925 for more than six units. An additional fee of $372 per unit is applicable for non-resident students.

For more information about on-campus housing available during the summer, email or call SF State Housing at (415) 338-1067.

"Summer Session is a great time to make progress on your degree, to focus on a particular subject that you are really passionate about and to connect with other students in the class," Volkert said.

From a student's perspective, Ponce Nguyen said taking a summer class offered a good learning experience. "I didn't have to mentally juggle information from four to five classes like I normally do per semester, and I could harvest more out of one subject."