Many students believe the January Term program at Linfield is a major asset—if they could afford it.
Meals and personal expenses alone for an off-campus January Term course costs anywhere between $600-900, and the price per credit hour for on- and off-campus courses is $212.
With the cost of tuition for a private school already at an obscene amount, how can students that are already just barely getting by afford the luxury of a January Term?
What’s worse is that because the extra term is not required, any financial aid a student receives cannot be applied toward a January Term class.
If January Term was made mandatory, financial aid could be adjusted to cover the extra course and living expenses. Rob Gardner, associate professor of sociology at Linfield, agrees that January Term is out of reach for many students.
“One option would be to fold in January Term fees into the overall student tuition so that financial aid and other scholarship packages could be adjusted to accommodate these additional fees,” Gardner said. “This could lead to a higher overall tuition rate, but students would also not have to pay additional fees to take these January courses [and could include them in their financial aid.”
January Term was initially started as an extra study abroad option, which only served a couple hundred students.
Now, more students are using January Term to help fulfill the Linfield Curriculum requirements and make double-majoring possible.
I personally will need to take advantage of the extra term to get out in four years with a double-major, but some students just do not have that option.
The January Term directors need to do something, the needs of students who can’t afford to stay on campus during the extended break need to be evaluated and re-executed.
Money issues aside, there have been zero studies conducted to discover how the two-month gap off school affects study habits and motivation.
“While the gap provides opportunities for students to work, travel, do internships and service projects or spend time with family, it also is less time that they are spending on campus and engaging in campus life,” Gardner said.
The gap is an awkward amount of time for students to be away from school. Some students stay with their family, while their friends at other universities on the quarter system return to school long before Linfield students.
Other Wildcats get jobs, but this is difficult because most employers do not hire employees for a matter of two months.
So, what can be done about January Term?
Gardner stressed that any change to the program would take a considerable amount of time and discussion, and emphasized the need to communicate with the entire Linfield community about this topic.
“However, the feasibility of such an option [mandatory January Term] would need to be formally studied as it could have a significant impact on the overall campus budget, enrollment, faculty teaching load and other areas,” Gardner said. “I doubt we would make participation in January a requirement without first discussing the equity of doing so for those who cannot afford it.”
What do you think about a mandatory January Term
Helen Lee / Photo editor
Helen Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.