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Students drop cash on summer courses

As spring approaches and the snow begins to melt, something else is beginning: registration for summer classes.

"In today's highly competitive and global economic environment, students who demonstrate a breadth of interests and experiences, as well as in-depth knowledge of their major area, are more highly valued, and summer can be helpful in achieving that level of education," said Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Philip Furmanski.

The Summer Session offers a wide range of diverse courses and provides rewarding opportunities for University students, said Christine Lenart, assistant director for the New Brunswick Office of Summer and Winter Sessions.

The average undergraduate summer course cost is $307 per credit for New Jersey residents, a 3 percent rise from last summer, she said.

While tuition prices for the summer session are the same as those for the spring and fall semesters, there is considerably less financial aid offered for the summer courses, said Director of Financial Aid Jean McDonald-Rash.

Federal aid programs have an annual limit on the amount that a student can receive. The vast majority of students need to use their annual amount to pay for the fall and spring terms so there is often little left over to go towards summer programs, she said.

New Jersey provides no aid for summer programs, as state aid is designated for fall and spring terms only by law, McDonald-Rash said.

But about 4,200 students or 20 percent of all students who register for the summer session receive some form of financial aid, mostly in the form of private educational loans, she said.

The lack of financial aid during the summer sessions equates to more students paying out of their own pockets, yet this is a sacrifice many students are willing to make.

"I don't know if I paid too much for it because I just had to take it," said School of Arts and Sciences Sophomore Zain Ahmad. "The price didn't really matter, whatever it takes for me to graduate"

Some students say one of the main reasons they choose to take summer courses are for convenience. Some also believe classes in the summer tend to be easier.

"Yes, [summer classes are easier] because there isn't as much work, so I can better focus on it," said Abraham Tak, an Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy first-year student.

Rutgers Business School Professor Majorie Yushak said when a student takes a class over the summer, they really have to devote every single day to studying. She suggests taking one or two since they are accelerated.

"You won't feel like you have a break at all," Yushak said.

The amount of material covered in a summer class is equivalent to the amount covered during a regular semester, Lenart said.

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