HGTC’s Flex Start program doubles enrollment

vgrooms@thesunnews.comFebruary 10, 2014 

Enrollment in Horry-Georgetown Technical College’s Flex Start classes has doubled since the program began last spring.

Flex Start attracted 200 students who were new to HGTC when it first began, but that number has reached about 400 students, who started the most recent session Feb. 3, said Marilyn Fore, HGTC senior vice president.

The program allows students to begin certain classes about a month later than they would on a traditional college schedule. Classes are accelerated and meet for longer periods so that they finish on schedule with the same number of hours.

“Our college is trying to provide alternative scheduling options to students,” Fore said. “The beauty of these classes is that they are a shorter option for students who may not be in a position to start [when a traditional term begins].”

Fore said flex classes are attractive for many students, such as those who may not be in a financial position to start school immediately after the holidays in January. It also benefits students who have jobs in the area’s service industry and are still working when most colleges and universities start classes in mid-August, she said. Those students are able to work longer and begin their courses in September.

Most of the program’s enrollment is in general education and university transfer classes, Fore said, such as math, English, psychology, history and the sciences. There also has been high demand for courses such as anatomy and physiology, which are prerequisites for some of the college’s limited-access programs, including nursing and dental hygiene, and Fore said it is popular across the board, whether for regular classes, online classes – which fill up fast – or a hybrid of both.

“We tried this in a major way last year, and it was an experiment to see if this type of schedule was attractive to students,” Fore said. “We realized students need options. We are going to assess and review the demographics so we can provide the kind of schedules they need to receive their degrees, to work and raise their families.”

Contact VICKI GROOMS at 443-2401 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_VickiGrooms.

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