Late-start courses for Winter Semester shows hope for program’s future

The Winter 2021 Semester may have begun Jan. 8, but there are some students at MCCC who have just started courses through the late-start course program.

Winter Semester late-start courses began Feb. 1 and will run for twelve weeks rather than the 8-week-long schedule that was used in the 2020 Fall Semester.

Ryan Rafko, director of Admissions and Guidance services, said the selection of available classes was made by the Academic Divisions and was dependent on instructor availability.

General Education courses such as English Composition I and II, Basic Writing Skills and Intro to CIS are among the courses offered to MCCC students for the Winter late-start courses.

As the Winter Semester late-start course continuing the program that began Fall 2020, more students at MCCC have become aware of and taken advantage of the program.

“We did see an increase in students who enrolled in late-start classes in the Winter Semester,” Rafko said. “Some of this was due to the fact that we offered more sections compared to the Fall. We also had a number or students who are eligible for Future for Frontliners funding from the State of Michigan take advantage of these late-start classes.

Valerie Culler, director of Financial Aid, said student tuition paid through financial aid would prioritize a student’s previous grants and scholarships such as the Pell Grant before state aid such as Future for Frontliners or Michigan Reconnect funds were used.

“The State of Michigan sets rules for the Future for Frontliners and MI Reconnect programs so that these are ‘last dollar’ funds and can only be used to pay in-county tuition and mandatory fees that are not paid by the Pell Grant or other tuition restricted scholarships,” Culler said.

As the late-start course program has seen success over the past year, MCCC has begun planning for the program’s future.

Rafko said it is possible late-start courses will be something implemented in future semesters even after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I believe that late-starts are a great option for students who may not have had their information together to start by the official start date for the semester,” Rafko said. “It is also a great way for a student to add another class during a semester to help move them towards graduation sooner.”