SAN ANTONIO – This fall semester, Alamo Colleges will offer more than 70 degrees that can be completed fully online.
Currently, there are 7,125 students across the Alamo Colleges District enrolled in fully online degree plans.
One of the five Alamo Colleges, St. Philip's College, has more than half of its students taking online courses.
Felicia Campos, who is in her second year at St. Philip's College, said she hopes to be an educator. She is earning her degree completely online.
“You can do your course assignments, your tests, your essays, all of the that at home at your own pace,” Campos said.
Campos also holds a part-time job while raising a 3-year-old. She said the online degree plans are crucial to people like her, who are going back to school and don't have a flexible schedule.
“They don't have the advantage to have somebody to take care of their personal life while they sit in a classroom,” Campos said.
Flexibility and convenience are just some of the reasons why Alamo Colleges is offering more degree plans fully online. This is part of the chancellor’s vision to offer more opportunities to the community.
Luis Lopez, interim dean for academic success of St. Philip's College, said it's important that colleges keep up with the times.
“We started in the late '90s offering online classes because we saw there was a demand for that, and it's just increased over the years,” Lopez said.
In fall 2018, St. Philip's College had about 7,500 students taking online courses, about 60% of its students. Of that number, about 2,000 students are enrolled in online-only degree plans.
For four years, Allen Hamilton has taught all of his classes online. He said taking an online course doesn't diminish the quality of education.
“Education is education,” Hamilton said. “The sign above the door out there says college, but that doesn't change whether you walk in the door or access it through the internet.”
Campos said even though she needs online courses, she doesn't believe actual courses in the classroom will ever go away because the need will always be there.
“Everybody has a different learning style,” Campos said. “Not everybody can take online courses just because maybe their focus is not there or the time doesn't permit.”
The Alamo Colleges District has lowered the out-of-district, fully online tuition rate effective fall 2019.
Last semester, students who live outside of Bexar County paid $215 per semester credit hour. This fall, it will cost $170 per credit hour.