Magazine article University Business

High Gas Prices Hit Campus Hard

Magazine article University Business

High Gas Prices Hit Campus Hard

Article excerpt

TALKING ABOUT GAS PRICES IS almost as cliche as talking about the weather. Although the national average for unleaded regular finally slipped below $4 a gallon in August, the winter months could bring new surprises. Higher energy costs are affecting everything from dining services to construction costs.

Higher ed institutions spent the summer implementing programs to give staff and students some relief. A number of IHEs had four-day workweeks during the season, including Eastern Kentucky University, Misericordia University (Pa.), LeToumeau University (Texas), Oakland University (Mich.), and El Camino Community College/Compton Center (Calif.). "We recognize it's an issue," says Reagan Romali, chief business officer at Compton Center. "We've heard other institutions are increasing their online options [for students]."

"There is already a lot of anecdotal evidence that enrollments online have increased, particularly at the community college level," agrees I. Elaine Allen, director of research with the Sloan Consortium. A 2008 Sloan survey will ask "whether gas prices have impacted ... online or face-to-face enrollments and/or the number of [planned] course and program offerings."

Rose State College (Okla.) eliminated Friday classes for students in January in an effort to save its all-commuter population money. The new schedule will continue this fall and spring, says Lisa Pitsiri, executive director for institutional advancement, since there was no sign of gas prices dropping when the new schedules were set. …

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