Two years ago, when Amanda Gomez could not get financial aid for community college, she decided to enroll part time at El Paso Community College in Texas. This gave her time to work to pay for her courses.
Being a part-time student has its pros — mainly a lighter course load. But Gomez feels like she misses out on some important experiences, like being able to stay back after class to talk to her instructors, or study in libraries on campus.
She says the difference was notable when she took a semester as a full-time student.
“I did enjoy the full-time semester more because I thought I was more involved in the school,” Gomez says. However, she chose to go back to part time to more easily manage her time between work and classes.
Gomez’s experience is representative. A recent report by the nonprofit Center for Community College Student Engagement demonstrates that students who enroll full time in community colleges fare better than their part-time counterparts.
Illustration: LA Johnson/NPR