November 17, 2010 | | Leave a comment In an effort to help students graduate faster and become professionals in their field of study, universities and colleges are offering winter and summer courses. However, recently colleges have begun to offer more courses online for students to take while at home between semesters. Gloucester County College (GCC), located in New Jersey, is one higher learning institution that is helping students take advantage of winter sessions, reports the Gloucester County Times. The school is offering more courses for its own students as well as individuals from four-year universities. Enrollees will take part between two- to five-week session that run from December 20 to January 21, and allow students to complete general education courses that are usually difficult to get into because they are in high demand. Each course is offered in an online, face-to-face or hybrid format all of which are available seven days a week. College officials told the news source that tuition costs for these courses are the lowest rates allowed in the state. John Henzy, GCC provost and vice president of academic services added that a sharp increase in enrollment made it necessary to provide more course alternatives and has equated to a 33 percent growth in enrollment for the school. New York-based school sees strong winter enrollment numbers The State University of New York at Canton has experienced a steady flow of students signing up for winter classes this year, reports the Watertown Daily Times. More than 300 students have signed up for winter classes after college officials made registration for these courses available a week earlier in anticipation of increased enrollment. The school has seen double-digit growth in enrollment in its winter courses since 2005. "We have increased the number of courses drastically, mostly due to demand," Kyle A. Brown online-learning director at the school, told the news source. "We are expecting a 30 to 40 percent growth in enrollments." The school currently offers courses in nursing, criminal justice, sports management, anthropology and French. College officials told the news source that while curricula are taught online or in hybrid formats, the material and faculty are identical to the on-campus version of the class. "We have started with the courses that are popular, the [general education courses] that students need to catch up or get ahead," Brown added. "We go by demand – we try to offer based on history – and once we have found courses that are popular, we build on that." Larger universities seeing success in summer sessions Even more prestigious schools, such as the University of Kentucky (UK), are beginning to see more students sign up for seasonal courses. Recent data from the school revealed that 24 percent of students who enrolled in online summer courses this year were undergraduate nonresident students, reports the Kentucky Kernel. The school added 29 new classes to its summer 2010 session, which included general education and upper division courses. College officials told the news source that approximately 1,640 students were enrolled during the summer. “It has been a very aggressive effort, directly aimed at improving retention and, ultimately, graduation rates,” Jay Blanton, the school’s spokesperson, told the news source. “The results have been promising. Retention is at an all-time high at 82 percent. Our expectation is that graduation rates, over time, will continue to improve as well.” School officials are seeking to increase the number of new online courses that will be available next year. Furthermore, UK is working with other school to add more classes.