Transportation woes for college students -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Transportation woes for college students

August 2, 2006

Albany--  Just when you thought gas prices couldn't affect anything else, get this. Soaring prices are hurting education. Some students who want to take classes at Albany Technical College can't always afford the transportation to campus.    

"A lot of you have taken a lot of time and thought hard on this one right?," asks a Albany Tech instructor while handing out quizzes.

It's quiz time for some students at Albany Tech and April Morgan is ready.  She's thought about a career in Electronic Technology for a long time.

"I just love PC boards. I've been doing it since about 7th grade so," says Morgan. Albany Tech was the perfect fit.  She wants to be done quickly.

"I only have really a semester to go for my first degree," says Morgan. But getting to that point and to class takes money.  Morgan has been at Albany Tech since June and already she's shelled out hundreds of dollars on buses and gas money to those who gave her a ride to school.

"Whoo, together? Man, probably a car note," says Morgan.

"A lot of our students may be having some difficulty in getting to some classes just because of the cost of gas and transportation," says Vice-President of Instruction Joe Dan Banker.

In fact, Banker says Albany Tech has seen lower enrollment this summer partly because of it. So the school is trying to find solutions to the transportation problem. "Anything we can do to help them get here, we'll do it," says Banker.

One solution is making students more aware that transportation is available from the Southwest Georgia Regional Development Center.  They'll expand this service starting in Fall. Students in Albany and surrounding counties can spend 300 dollars quarterly for a ride.

"That can be deferred to their financial aid," says Banker. Another option is possibly offering more one-night classes at the school which adds up to less driving.

"Instead of coming three nights for one hour or an hour and a half, you can come for one night of four hours and that takes care of it," says Banker.

Just this week, Morgan found out about another form of transportation relief.  The city of Albany offers students discounted monthly passes for the transit system. It's what got her to school tonight.

"It's better because it's $25 at the school but normally it's $36," says Morgan. And every little bit counts for this future electrician.  It'll make sure she gets to class and eventually into the workforce. "I'm so ready, I'm so ready," says Morgan.

With a little help, more students could soon be taking quizzes.  As long as the school keeps providing the answer to gas and transportation troubles.

Administrators are considering other changes including a 4-day schedule instead of 5 or possibly adding more Friday night and Saturday night classes if that's more convenient for students.