East Tennessee community college lets students learn, save gas

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- High gas prices are affecting all of us in many ways, especially college students who commute.

One area college is taking a huge step to help students get an education without having to drive to class everyday.

Pellissippi State is offering an alternate schedule for some classes to help students deal with rising fuel costs.

Beginning this fall, some introductory classes that have previously been offered three days a week will now be held twice, and some two-day classes will now meet just once per week.

Karrie Bledsoe drives from Alcoa to Pellissippi State's Knox County campus four times every week. She says, "It's kind of a hassle to have to go in the middle of the day four days a week to get to class. If we could compact it into less days it would be great, because it means less gas money, obviously, and more time to do other things I want to do."

Students like Karrie may get their wish in the future. With gas approaching four dollars per gallon, Pellissippi State wanted to do something to help students. Their idea will become a reality beginning this fall. It's called alternate scheduling, and it means that students in some introductory courses will be able to get the same credit with fewer trips to campus. Classes that have always met two or three times per week will now meet once or twice. Pellissippi's Vice President for Learning, Anthony Wise, says the college wants to alleviate some of the stress students face.

Wise says, "They are dealing with other economic stresses as well, rising fuel costs, rising food costs. We want to provide opportunities for them to continue their education, as many opportunities as we can."

Wise says Pellissippi expects to see even more classes move to alternate scheduling when the spring semester schedule is created.

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