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Lara Rosales

August 13, 2020

If this semester’s courses will be held online, shouldn’t fees change? Why should students pay the same for a completely different experience?

As we adjust to the “new normal," there are certain things we are still debating on. Wearing a face mask and maintaining social distance are not up for debate. These are simple actions everyone needs to keep in mind as we go about our lives. However, one of the things that has opened the conversation up for debate is the fees universities are still charging students even though classes will not be the same.

Students have taken to social media to comment and share their thoughts regarding the tuition they are paying. According to CNBC, 93% of college students in the United States say tuition should be lowered if classes are online. This article points out that “while many students agree that social distancing is vital, many have also raised concerns that they are still paying full tuition for what is now an online education." Are they right about this? Should tuition be lowered because classes are being held online? Is there a cost difference for colleges to have in-person classes versus online classes?

The same article explains, “experts say online education can be expensive for schools to administer, especially schools that have been forced to create online learning infrastructure in a rush." This is a real aspect of the changes universities have had to make due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Many institutions did not have the proper resources and guidelines to transition to online classes. In just a matter of days, they had to adjust their curriculums and teachers have had to adapt to the new way of teaching. Some academic professionals say offering online courses tends to be more time-intensive because professors are expected to respond to questions around the clock.

Even though these expenses are understandable, students are still wondering why the cost should be the same. The reality is online classes are not like in-classroom lectures. The money that is being spent is not the same. And many students have complained the quality of the classes does not even come close to what they used to be. According to a OneClass survey, there is a big percentage–75%–of college students who are unhappy with the quality of online classes which has led to 35% of them to consider withdrawing from school. Is this the uncertain feeling universities want their students to have? Why not give them the reassurance they need in these tough times?

There are multiple debates being held around this topic. Several uncomfortable conversations being held. Both sides have had to readjust and do a 180° jump when it came to their education and their teaching experience. The best thing that can be done is listen to everyone involved and try to meet their needs and understand their concerns. Students have the right to raise their voices when they believe there is unfair treatment. However, it all needs to be done in a respectful manner.

What do you think? Should tuition fees be the same they were before? Should there be any new adjustments?

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