JanTerm 2022 has ended, and the 2022 Spring semester has begun. However, this year marks the end of JanTerm as we knew it. Those interesting courses students see offered during JanTerm may not ever be offered again, unless professors change the course curriculum to cover an entire semester rather than a single month. Studying abroad in JanTerm may also no longer be an option. The benefit of gaining three to four credits in between the Fall and Spring semesters is now gone as well. While JanTerm being discontinued may mean a longer winter break for those who previously took JanTerm courses, it can also be a bit shorter for those who didn’t depend on whether the College plans to move up future Spring semesters’ start dates. In other words, JanTerm had its benefits, and, with its discontinuation, those benefits are being taken away.
As mentioned, JanTerm provided an extra three to four credits due to it being covered by the Fall semester tuition. This meant that students were able to use JanTerm courses towards the liberal education requirements, or, if they were lucky, their major requirements as well. Many students used this opportunity to get ahead on their requirements for graduation, and, of those students, some were able to graduate early. This meant students did not have to pay as much to earn their degrees, saving on at least a semesters’ worth of tuition payment. JanTerm also gave students the chance to study abroad without having to commit to or spend money on an entire semester abroad. Studying abroad for a few weeks instead of an entire semester is much cheaper, especially with the $2,000 Global Poets Scholarship offered by the Office of International Programs. So, why is JanTerm being discontinued when it gave students extra course credits and the chance to study abroad at a cheaper price?
According to Professor Overmyer-Velazquez, the reason for discontinuing JanTerm is due to costs. “It costs too much to house students on campus in January. The other reason is that too few full-time faculty teach during JanTerm, and the College has not been able to get more faculty to teach regular JanTerm courses,” said Professor Overmyer-Velazquez. While it is understandable that continuing JanTerm when there are not enough faculty to actually teach can be difficult, the housing problem is something the College can work on. With online classes basically becoming the new norm due to the pandemic, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched for some of the JanTerm classes to be online, allowing students to move back to campus at a later date.
Students have mixed reactions regarding JanTerm being discontinued. Some see the advantages of keeping JanTerm. Third-year Haley Hughes-Gill said, “[JanTerm] allows some students who are either behind or did not get enough credits to do JanTerm to make it up. Or, some students can take any courses that they’re interested in. What I found really nice about this program is that students can choose whether or not to take this term or can have the rest of January off before starting the Spring term.” Some, however, are a bit more indifferent to the decision, like third-year Luka Kenderian, who said, “As a freshmen, it was really useful because I could get an extra unit in without overworking myself. However, as an upperclassman, it’s more useless to me because JanTerm provides specific GEs that won’t benefit the completion of my degree.”
While it can be argued that the benefits JanTerm offered can also be applied to MayTerm, the big difference is the cost. Students can take JanTerm courses at no cost, as it is included in the Fall tuition, but MayTerm does charge students on top of their yearly tuition. If JanTerm is being discontinued, the College should think about making MayTerm financially accessible to students or consider reducing the Fall semester tuition. Not to mention, seniors won’t even have a chance to enroll in a MayTerm course if they wanted to. However, considering the advantages of having JanTerm, the College should also seriously consider continuing JanTerm again in the future.
Featured Image: Sage Amdahl / Quaker Campus