The start of the new semester has come quickly and with a sense of unfamiliar territory.
Throughout the United States, colleges are offering fully- or partially-online classes for their students. This has come as schools across the country adjust to the new normal that is life during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More specifically, students and educators together are learning what classes look like during a pandemic. Online learning has become students’ new college experience.
Zoom has become one of the most important tools for colleges around the country,acting as both the way to attend class and one of the best resources for communication between students and their professors.
Tuition is expensive as it is and many students thought they would be paying tuition for in person classes and hands on experience. Instead students are still paying the same tuition costs for online instruction and little to no hands on experience.
But that then raises the questions: Are students getting their money’s worth?
Colleges are trying to provide students with as many resources as possible and that may require more spending for the school, but students now have different things they have to pay for because they are off campus. Some students must pay for shipping of textbooks or lab equipment they must now buy.
Just like colleges, students have had to adjust and many have been forced to spend more money than usual for housing outside of campus as four-year schools close dorms due the pandemic. Students have also had to manage the combination of college life with home life as online classes take place at the time set by the professor.
Students have faced many inconveniences going into fall semester one being housing. For example on August 30 Chico State University announced that for the safety of their students, on campus housing would be unavailable obligating students to find off campus housing by September 6. Chico State has assured accommodations will be made for students unable to secure housing outside of campus.
Students are not receiving the benefits as in previous years, yet they are paying the same price or even more. Not receiving the same benefits is reasonable for safety reasons, but costs should be reasonable as well.
It is understandable that education suffered earlier this spring, because the pandemic caught everybody by surprise. It is to be expected that colleges weren’t prepared for the sudden change.
But now colleges and universities have had time to adjust and that should include reduced costs for their students given the vastly different semester. The schools are responsible for their high prices making it their responsibility to modify prices accordingly.
The loss in revenue due to lack of events taking place on campus, no one paying for parking and due to no sport tickets being sold is not something students should be making up the difference for through their tuition.
The circumstances surrounding this semester’s environment are not what students signed up for. Students are attempting to pay for the quality of semester they are being presented.
Therefore tuition fees should be reduced. Other fees, such as campus fees, should be eliminated. If no other benefits of campus life are being offered, such as free access to wifi or free computer access, students should only be paying for their tuition.
A handful of colleges and universities have reduced fees such as Georgetown and Johns Hopkins University. There are still many more that need to follow suit.
For example according to Johns Hopkins University’s website they were able to both reduce undergrad tuition fees by 10 percent and disburse about $15 million more in financial aid. This was meant to help both the students and their families during the fall semesters.
It is understandable that not all colleges or universities are able to do the exact same as others. The least they can do is see where students are coming from and make some fee and tuition changes.