Kevin Butler

Equinox Staff


The college’s growing summer session has many benefits for students, and allows for catching up and getting ahead in the classroom.

Summer Session at KSC allows students to catch up or get ahead on courses of all kinds. The final schedule, released on Feb. 1, consists of Integrative Studies Program (ISP) courses, major required courses, and many electives from which students can choose.

Registration for Summer Session begins Feb. 19 to 25, but students can register up until the start of classes on May 14.

“The registration will be online and similar to how it works for the fall and spring semesters,” Steve Kessler,  assistant director of Continuing Education, said.

As for what courses are available, Kessler said, “Our office works on the program with professors and department chairs to make a schedule that meets Keene State student needs. Whether the student needs to get caught up, explore major options or save themselves some money.”

Kessler said his department surveys students throughout the year to see what they are looking for.

“We also work with academic advising to ask students which classes are harder to get into in the fall and spring semesters and we like to offer them in the summer,” Kessler said.

He pointed to upper-level ISP courses as some that fill up quickly during the normal school year and are often found on the summer session schedule.

“I think departments have seen those classes filling up and the need to offer them more is able to be met during the summer,” he said.

Students can also take survey about which classes they would like to see on the Summer Session course schedule by following the survey link on page.

As varied as the courses are in topic, they are also very varied in length. Some courses meet three times a week, from nine to five, but only for two weeks, whereas others can run for two hours, four days a week. The first session runs from May 14 to June 22, and the schedule as of now consists of classes of different lengths.

Although it can be a mess and confusing to look at, the summer session schedule is on track with a normal semester.

“It’s the same amount of class time as the fall or spring semesters,” Kessler said, “It’s not a summer version of the class, it’s a 15-week course in six weeks.”

Kessler said that although fitting the same amount of material in less than half the time is intense, students do also benefit from the classes.

“The good thing is that the classes are small, so although it is intense, every student gets a lot of attention,” he said. Students can also benefit from some of the things that come with the fall and spring semesters. Kessler said that Butler Court will be open for student housing and last summer Lloyd’s Marketplace was also available for students, and will be again this summer.

“There is a full complement of student services available in summer session,” Kessler said. “The writing center is open, ASPIRE tutors are available, and the math department has a plan in place to help students with math courses.”

Students can register for summer housing online after Feb. 20.  All housing is in Butler Court and will require a meal plan.

Kessler said the program has grown over the past summers and included between 800 to 1,000 students last summer, and pointed to the list of benefits for why students continue to register for summer session.

“Saving time, saving money, and trying some things that might not be possible during the regular semester are all things that come with the summer session,” he said.

Kessler said many of the students who enroll in summer session are upperclassmen, and that they are trying to target more freshmen and sophomores to start enrolling in the program.

“A lot of juniors and seniors I talk to wish they discovered summer session earlier,” he said.

Financial aid is also available during the Summer Session. Deborah Nichols, the associate director of Student Financial Services, stressed that “Summer Session financial aid eligibility varies significantly from student to student, even for those that are registered in the exact same number of credits.”

As for the amount of credits it takes to receive financial aid, Nichols said, “This varies depending on the kind of financial aid we’re referring to. Undergrad students must be in at least six credits, half time, to receive any loan funding, federal or private, or institutional grant funding during the summer.” She added that the Federal Pell grant is available to qualifying students at three or more credits for summer.

Nichols explained how students are also able to use any unused loans from the spring and falls semesters, and said, “There are federally mandated loan maximums for the academic year (fall/spring/summer) based on grade level. If a student hasn’t used that maximum during the fall/spring, he or she can use the remaining unused portion during the summer, assuming the student is half time.”

She also explained the system on which the aid is given out and said, “Students are given a budget based on the number of courses they are taking and the length of the courses,” she said, “The budget includes the cost of tuition and fees, plus living expenses for the period of enrollment.  That budget defines the maximum amount of aid (federal and private loans included) that a student could receive for the summer.”

Nichols added, “So we’d typically award a student his or her remaining federal loan amounts, and then a student could apply for additional private loans for up to that cost of attending to assist with their remaining tuition costs and living expenses.”

She said how cost of attendance during Summer Session varies on the number of classes you take, up to 12 credits worth, and if a student wishes to take 12 to 20 credits, there is a flat rate, full-time charge. Nichols said that this allows students to borrow varying amounts of private loans.

“However,” said Nichols, “there isn’t a blanket statement for how other aid is affected by the number of courses someone may take. For example, the federal loan amount might be the same for a student at half time or full time enrollment, but their Pell or institutional grant might increase in some situations and not in others.”

Overall Kessler is hopeful for the continued success of the program and said not to worry about losing your summer vacation. He said, “You can come here for six weeks (May 14-June 22), get eight credits and still get home in time to have a good summer, a job, and be done before many of the high schools and elementary schools.”


Kevin Butler can be contacted at


Share and Enjoy !