HAMMOND — Budget cuts have become the norm nationwide, affecting businesses and education, as well as the students themselves.
At Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, La., school officials have elected to switch from a five-day week to four days in order to save money.
The state of Louisiana has already raised the cost of tuition for students at public universities, and there may be more in the future. The story of rising tuition, supply costs and shrinking budgets is a familiar one now to many.
While some students are enjoying the new four-day class week at Southeastern, many find it may not offer the ideal three-day weekend for which they were hoping.
State budget cuts prompted Southeastern’s schedule change. The university, along with many others in Louisiana, is facing additional budget cuts in 2011.
The most obvious change in schedule is that most students do not have class on Friday.
“I like the four-day week; this means I can party and have a long weekend. I also can work on Friday mornings,” said freshman Samantha Carlson.
Dr. Joe Burns of the Department of Languages and Communication also agrees with the change. “I like the four-day school schedule because I can catch up with paperwork on Fridays.”
History professor Al Daranguet says the new schedule may help those who commute. “I think that students like it,” he said. “They don’t have to waste gas. It should help the faculty that commute too.”
Some commuter students are experiencing difficulties. Many students who live off campus now must travel more days to get to school to take the classes needed. With the increase in gas prices, this is becoming a large obstacle.
“I live 30 minutes away from campus, and my [first group of] classes end at 11 a.m.,” said student Candice Robertson. “My next class doesn’t start until 5 p.m. I need that class, and that’s the only time it’s offered. I drive home and come back for my last class. It’s going to be an expensive semester.”
Many other students are facing the same dilemma of rearranging their schedules to fit the new four-day week that seems to offer fewer convenient class options.
“At least I don’t have to drive to Baton Rouge every day, but the nursing work really piles up,” says nursing major Kimberly Ritchie. “It’s made an already difficult major that much more so.”
Kinesiology major Wade Lott would rather classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. “I coach baseball a half-hour away,” he says. “I like to take more hours in less time.”
Though the four day a week schedule may be problematic for commuters and class scheduling, it does offer Fridays without class.
“I think the university is very good at maintaining services for students, even when budgets are being cut,” said Eric Johnson, director of library services. “Until recently, I don’t think the students have felt the effects of the budget cuts.”