Few colleges in the country are holding normal, in-person classes. Most students aren’t even living on campus. So why is the tab still so high?
Schools across the country are charging students full tuition for what parents believe is a half-baked experience. Classes have moved online, students aren’t allowed to visit campus, and there has been nary a word about when these restrictions might change. As a result, some students are opting to sit this year out.
One such student decided to forgo this academic year and get a job instead, according to his father, conservative commentator and Washington Examiner columnist Stephen Moore. His other choice was to return to Villanova University and pay $70,000 for online classes that he would have had to take from home.
Students are demanding tuition rebates, increased financial aid, reduced fees, and leaves of absence to compensate for the losses they’ve experienced. At Rutgers University, more than 30,000 students signed a petition calling for a 20% tuition cut. At the University of North Carolina, 40,000 signed a petition to refund housing charges to students after the university shut its campus down. And at Harvard University, more than 340 freshmen opted to defer their admission.
Colleges have a simple response: We can’t afford to charge any less.
“Tuition really reflects our cost of operation, and that cost has not only not diminished but has greatly increased,” said Daniele Struppa, the president of Chapman University, according to the New York Times.
In order to move online, schools had to invest in new technology and training, Struppa said, and all of those things come with a price tag. Other schools have echoed Struppa’s account.
“Starting up an online education program is incredibly expensive,” said Dominique Baker, an assistant professor of education policy at Southern Methodist University. “You have to have training, people with expertise, licensing for a lot of different kinds of software. All those pieces cost money, and then if you want the best quality, you have to have smaller classes.”
But that doesn’t mean students will be willing to pay for it. Will Andersen, an incoming freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, put it this way: “Who wants to pay $25,000 a year for glorified Skype?”
Original Author: Kaylee McGhee
Original Location: The high price of a higher education