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I believe toyg already covered the split between humanities and science/engineering, but I'd also like to cover the Continuing Education departments themselves.

The course offerings are generally constrained, and the courses themselves are often lightweight versions of the university course -- assuming that the subject you want is covered at all. The facilities for continuing education courses are also often less robust.

Take CCA in San Francisco. This is a highly considered arts college, and they offer a small number of introductory extension classes:


Compare to their full course offering:


You'll have to drill down on individual categories to explore the full breadth and depth.

Continuing Education offerings are rarely a substitute for the quality of courses they offer to a matriculating student.

Given how often educational institutions have raised their tuition in recent years, I'd love to see them institute a program where they charge a (possibly large) fee to allow non-matriculating adults to audit a course, without limitation or requirement, and use those fees to subsidize enrolled student tuition.

However, this may be a shift too far in the "trade school" direction for their comfort.

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