Community and State Colleges: The Best Choice for Higher Education in This Pandemic

When the world began to shutter its doors and shelter in place in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous guidelines and protocols were established, yet Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC), with great flexibility, kept our operations moving forward – nimbly altering instruction and services to virtual environments.  In-person classes were quickly shifted online, Zoom rooms took the place of face-to-face advising sessions, digital strategy huddles and traditional conference calls replaced campus visits, but one constant remained – Our Commitment to Student Success.  We focused on keeping our students’ well-being the foremost concern in our decision-making.  Our goal was, and continues to be, ensuring minimal disruption to each and every student’s academic pursuits.

What does it take to ensure a student persists to completion? Now more than ever, students crave that connection with their professors, and state/community colleges provide just that through smaller class sizes and more targeted individualized attention. NWFSC classes average 18 students and provide adequate spacing under the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, while promoting a healthy learning environment. Not to mention, we continue to offer virtual student engagement activities, even with the absence of an activity fee, promoting positive mental health and well-being during this unprecedented time of social isolation.

As the federal government begins to revive the economy and states begin to implement phases aimed at re-opening, I hear from parents who are deeply concerned with “sending their children away from home” to live amid the many uncertainties surrounding the post-pandemic world reality. Let’s face it, the four-year college experience has been created to focus on exploring an extensive campus, living in dorms, attending large lectures, enjoying big events and eating with hundreds of students in the cafeteria.  But in the midst of a pandemic, this type of environment may create significant anxiety for students.

Being recognized as the Safest College in Florida doesn’t happen by chance.  We are deliberate in our planning and execution of safety and health-related protocols.  This is why we continue to top the list of safest colleges and universities in Florida, and why we take pride in having weathered the pandemic to date with no reports of a member of our College community having contracted COVID-19.

If you are not comfortable heading straight to a university, then complete required general education courses at Northwest Florida State College this summer, fall, and spring.  Our coursework is top quality, taught by the best faculty in Florida and transferable to numerous four-year institutions in Florida, Alabama, and beyond. Our institution is accredited with the same standards as other higher education institution in the region – We are among the Best!!!!

With the ongoing uncertainty of the future, you can stay home. A short drive gets you to one of our campuses/centers or a simple click of a mouse provides access into our on-line campus environment. With the downturn in our economy, many families are not ready for the financial burden of high tuition and fee costs at a university.  Northwest Florida State College is recognized for our affordability, free of some of the high overhead charges at universities. Furthermore, there are numerous opportunities for students to qualify for financial aid – scholarships and grants – at NWFSC thanks to our supportive Foundation, community leaders and influencers who provide funding targeted at student success. The return on investment for a Northwest Florida State College degree is by far better than other sectors of higher education.

Often times, general education classes at the university are taught by teacher’s assistants (TAs), while the professor conducts research. Faculty teaching at Northwest Florida State College are highly credentialed and solely focused on teaching and learning, providing a strong foundation for the student. Time and time again, studies confirm that juniors in the university system who transfer from a community college perform higher academically than their peers who attend the university immediately following high school graduation.

NWFSC’s programming is relevant and leads to high-demand-high wage careers. Partnerships with local business and industry keep our College nimble enough to offer training and certification programs that produce graduates prepared for immediate hire. A win-win for the businesses as well as the students by providing a clear unobstructed pathway for success.

Northwest Florida State College is a lighthouse in this region and has been steadfast in fulfilling its mission of improving lives long before the pandemic. Through the good times and the bad times, we have kept our focus on our most important asset – Our Students. Look no farther than your doorstep, because your future begins here at Northwest Florida State College. Regardless of where you come from, we are the open door for you to pursue a strong and vibrant future filled with success!

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