College Implementing Virtual Days, Citing Soaring Gas Prices

One college is implementing virtual Fridays for all students and staff to combat soaring gas prices and inflation.

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | Published

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virtual fridays

As inflation and rising gas prices wreak havoc on the economy, one college is looking to offer some relief. Southwest Tennessee Community College is utilizing virtual learning to ease students’ growing burden. All Friday classes will be virtually held for the summer session. Deemed, “Virtual Fridays,” this solution still allows young adults the benefits of in-person classes, while also giving them a break at the gas pump.

Virtual Fridays are well-received at a time when not just the students are struggling, but teachers and other staff as well. The school’s Deputy Chief Officer admitted to driving some 250 miles a week. Even with a small, more fuel-efficient car, he is still experiencing the frustration of outrageous gas prices in a bad economy. Even just having one day of relief is easing the financial strain. 

Being that the school maintained good standing during the pandemic, when learning went completely virtual for a time, it was determined that Virtual Fridays wouldn’t interfere with learning. The Vice President of Student Affairs, Cory Major, noted that school officials don’t want students having to choose between feeding themselves or getting to class. This is a major concern across the nation. 

Virtual Fridays is an innovative concept in the changing world of higher education. College enrollment is dropping. Many students cannot afford the rising costs of tuition or higher student loan rates. Instead of taking the risk of spending thousands of dollars on degree programs that do not always offer as many returns as expected, many young adults are taking advantage of the worker shortage and finding on the job training programs, or opting for trades schools — which offer quicker success rates and career placement opportunities. Because of this, universities are finding the need to become more competitive. It’s no longer enough to offer easy access to learning, or even prestigious programs. Students need substantial real-world benefits. Even community colleges have been known to require classes with unrelated content to degree programs for graduation. While the idea of Virtual Fridays may draw in some added interest, the move does not address the long-term issues that have been plaguing college students for years.   

Regardless, depending on how this solution works throughout the summer, Southwest Tennessee Community College is considering extending Virtual Fridays into the next school year, with the potential to add other virtual learning options as well. How students feel about this is not fully known, being that the shortened semester is not attended by everyone enrolled in degree programs, but this small test-run will give teachers and administrators a better understanding of what the fall will look like. Even so, many are looking for any relief they can get. 

virtual friday

The country is experiencing record gas prices. Young students just entering adulthood are having to learn how to budget and balance all of their expenses under some of the worst conditions the nation has seen in decades. Virtual Fridays classes may only offer slight assistance to mitigate inflation, but at this point, many people are doing everything they can to cut costs, and this move will not only aid students but also teachers and staff.