Students still commute despite rising gas prices

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    By Marianne Holman

    Rising gas prices haven?t impacted the student lifestyle yet, at least if commuting to class is anything to go by.

    Though gas prices hit an average of $2.85 in Utah Wednesday, students are still making the hour-long commute to school at the BYU Salt Lake Center.

    Although the initial purpose of the center was to catered toward students in the Salt Lake Valley, many students from the Provo campus say they commute because they like the benefits the extension has to offer and because they are willing to pay extra in gas.

    ?I hate having to pay for the gas, especially with gas so expensive, but from what I?ve heard it is worth the drive,? said Val Chapman, a communications major from Orange County. ??To me it is worth it to not have to go to class twice a week.?

    Students say benefits of Salt Lake classes include an average class size of 10?15, classes that are offered only once or twice a week and class times in the late afternoon and early evening.

    Although the actual number of students commuting to the center is hard to gage, 68 percent of enrolled students attend class on both the Provo campus and Salt Lake campus.

    Though Chapman considers her class at the Salt Lake Center worth the drive, she says she?s still making to accommodate her class.

    ?I make it an effort not to drive during the week,? she said. ?[I] walk everywhere I can, so I can save gas as much as possible and it won”t cost me an arm and a leg to take this class.?

    Though enrollment hasn?t decreased with gas prices still on the up, some students are reconsidering whether traveling to the Salt Lake Center is worth the time.

    ?I was registered for a class at the Salt Lake extension,? said Cami Anderson, a senior from Farmington. ?But because of the recent rise in gas prices I decided to drop the class and take it another semester.?

    Even with the rise in gas prices, Lee Glines, director of the Salt Lake Center said class enrollment this semester is very close to last fall.

    This semester there are 1,830 students enrolled. That?s just one less that last fall semester.

    With the majority of students enrolled at the Salt Lake Center commuting, many tactics are being taken to save money in transportation fees. Students opt for carpooling with other classmates and taking public transportation.

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