Emerson tentatively plans new Los Angeles summer program

By Alec Klusza, Assistant News Editor

The college is planning a new summer program at Emerson Los Angeles, contingent on COVID-19 regulations and interest from students, officials announced in an email sent Monday afternoon. 

The hybrid program is slated to run from May 17 to Aug. 19, provided the college obtains permission from Los Angeles County to reopen the campus in May. The college was denied permission to open during the fall and spring semester due to escalating COVID-19 cases.

Despite the past closures and spiking case numbers, college officials remain optimistic about potentially reopening in the summer. L.A. County remains under a strict stay at home order and in tier one of four in California’s reopening plan, given that one in five are testing positive for the virus. 

“Students want to be here, and COVID-19 has prevented us from doing that,” Associate Dean of Students and Chief Operations Officer for the ELA program Timothy Chang said in a phone interview. “We are eternally hopeful that we will be able to reopen now that we have a few vaccines rolling out.”

The decision to launch a summer program follows a rocky year for one of the college’s flagship programs. Many students deferred or rejected their acceptance to ELA due to the program going fully remote, Chang said. Enrollment in the program dropped over 40 percent to 114 students in 2020-21 from the previous four-year average of 192 students, according to the college’s annually published factbook. The summer session is meant to give those students another chance to participate in the coveted academic and internship program before they graduate, Chang said.

Students are allowed to complete eight enrollment credits in the program: one four-credit class alongside a four-credit internship, or one eight credit internship. In a normal semester, students will complete 16 credits, 12 of which would be completed through course work with the remaining four coming from an internship. Students must have at least a 2.7 GPA to enroll in ELA.

Some students received a survey via email Monday to gauge potential interest in the program. Hours after it was sent out, around 20 students had already responded to the survey, Chang said.

The college conducted a summer program when the ELA campus first opened seven years ago, though this new program is different, Chang said. Unlike that program, this one will accept about 40 students—compared to the usual 190-student population—and those accepted will be required to live on campus for the duration of the program. ELA officials cleared the way for students to live off-campus during the spring semester, a first for the program. 

Not many details are known about the program as of yet, as Chang said the college is still determining whether or not to move forward.

The program is open to juniors and seniors of all majors, as well as students who are currently enrolled in ELA for the spring semester or the upcoming fall semester who may want more time in Los Angeles, Chang said. 

The program will cost students an expected $12,400 for both credit hours as well as room and board, significantly lower than the $25,548 cost of a typical full course load with room and board.

Students would be required to live on-campus, though as a COVID-19 precaution only single rooms will be offered.