St. Philip's College lowers price of English-as-a-second-language courses
Published: Thursday, April 17, 2008
Updated: Wednesday, September 2, 2009 14:09
Expanding the English as a Second Language program has become easier for St. Philip's College.
The continuing education department decided to lower the original price of $205 to $75 per course for incoming prospective students, to help local workers gain proficiency in the English language.
Education skills specialist Gabriela Pérez said an overwhelming interest in the course pre-empted the decision.
In a press release from St. Philip's College, Pérez said after the department's announcement "we received more than 600 calls, and that's a huge deal for us. For a couple of weeks, we were on the phone with prospective students all day."
The attraction to the program resulted from advertising in local publications like La Prensa, a bilingual newspaper, and Conexión, a weekly published by the San Antonio Express-News.
But, after the price was recited to the callers, the definitive answer was no, Pérez said.
"When you are making such a pitiful amount of money, it's hard," Pérez said. "So, we lowered the price and that energized the students to come in."
One major difference in enrollment for credit-based courses and continuing education programs is the flexibility of the pricing; credit-based courses are set in stone, Pérez said.
"You have to consider the instruction, material costs and fringe benefits for the instructor," Pérez said. "They (local workers) just want the substance of the class."
The continuing education department also would like to offer trade-specific classes in hotel, aviation, medical and construction fields.
The problem is finding competent bilingual teachers who are proficient in the English language, as well as the profession that employs the students.
It is not always that easy to find adequate teachers who understand both the content and the English terminology for the profession, Pérez said.
A positive for the students completing the classes is to become more marketable and attain the skills needed for advancement in their field of expertise.
Along with the ESL program, the continuing education department also offers English for Speakers of Other Languages.
This program is for students desiring credit enrollment courses to produce a documented transcript to the Immigration department verifying that they are meeting the requirements for their visa status.
Some of the students enrolling in the program are citizens of the community who have lived here, but need the credit to obtain financial aid, Pérez said.
"ESOL is the credited component of what we're doing," Pérez said. "We want to filter some of our community guys into that program."
The continuing education department began its first marketing attempt in December. Past efforts have failed in organizing a large turnout for the program, Pérez said.
For more information on ESL classes, contact Gabriela Pérez at 531-4747. For ESOL courses, contact JoAnn Davis at 531-4643.