As U.S. universities attempt to bring students back to campus amid the coronavirus pandemic, students facing restrictions to college life or remote learning are questioning the amount they’re paying to attend.
“We’re in a bizarre circumstance where colleges and universities have been selling us on this idea that college is an immersive experience — you’ve got to be all in, on campus… and we have stripped all that away,” Beth Akers, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, told Yahoo Finance’s On The Move (video above). “And students are paying the exact same price, and many are paying more.”
Rose, a 21-year-old student at San Francisco State University, expressed her frustration over paying “like $200 extra for facilities we can’t use like the health center” and for other unavailable amenities.
“It sucks,” Rose said about her senior year being remote, “I also get that the pandemic has changed things, and that in itself is outside of SFSU’s hands, it’s just bogus we have to pay more for the same subpar education we have always gotten.”
Hafeezat Bishi, a 20-year-old Temple University student, told Yahoo Finance that she is feeling “a bit burnt out already” after a week of online classes and working a remote internship while being stuck on campus in her room.
“For me, someone who’s just here on campus but going to class completely online, I’m not getting a ‘college experience,’” said Bishi, a communication and social influence major. “I’m getting a diet version and I shouldn’t pay full tuition for a diet college experience.”
A 20-year-old resident assistant (RA) from the University of Michigan claimed that the school raised her tuition by nearly $2,000 even though her classes were online in addition to a $50 “COVID fee” for basic face masks, a small bottle of hand sanitizer, and a plastic thermometer.
“It hurts my family because we pay full out of pocket,” the premedical student, who asked to remain anonymous, told Yahoo Finance. “I feel so guilty asking my mom to pay this after her work hours have been getting cut.”
Akers, who recently published a report on college tuition inflation, noted that tuition remaining the same while the college experience diminishes “is going to push consumers, the students, to say: ‘What am I paying for? Is it just the credential at the end?’”
Aarthi is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @aarthiswami.