DRYDEN — The way people get an education completely changed in 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic affected almost all aspects of life, Tompkins Cortland Community College President Orinthia Montague said.
“Many students decided not to return this spring, and those who would be first-time students have delayed their start date,” she said in a news release, attributing many of those decisions to the pandemic, and all the struggles it has caused, including financial.
To address this, the college is offering a new scholarship that offers a reduced cost per credit.
The scholarship, called the Community Connections Scholarship, offers new, part-time students reduced cost for credits at $50 a credit for up to six credits, said Peter Voorhees, the public information officer at TC3. In comparison, a credit normally costs $200 per credit.
Additionally, the college is continuing to emphasize its late start courses that include course start dates up to April 12, according to the school’s website.
Dan Dineen, the planning director for Cortland County and a member of the Cayuga-Cortland Workforce Development Board, said programs like this may be helpful to get more people into the work force.
“If you had a bigger pool of candidates to choose from, I think that would certainly help,” he said.
Two areas that have particularly been hurt by the pandemic have been restaurants and retail, Dineen said.
Restaurants have been forced to reduce capacity and focus their services on primarily takeout or delivery. Retail stores have also seen a decline as people are shopping more online now due to virus contraction fears.
Dineen noted that the late starting classes, and the scholarship to help affordability, could be help people who are looking for new jobs after being out of the work force.
“So I think these programs are very helpful in that manner,” he said.
“The more higher education can do — specifically TC3 in this case — to prepare people for the work force or a change in career path, the better,” said Garry VanGorder, the executive director of the Cortland County Business Development Corp. and Industrial Development Agency, in an email.