As the COVID-19 crisis gathered momentum in the spring, colleges and universities around the United States moved to remote learning. The measure was absolutely necessary to protect the public, but it left most students disappointed with the quality of the online-only education they had paid for and worked so hard for in the last part of their 2019-2020 school year.
As September approaches and an increasing number of colleges and universities release announcements that online learning will continue as standard, that disappointment is getting louder, especially as many of them have not reduced their tuition to compensate for it. Student opinion on the matter is pretty universal: an online-only college experience is worth less. Ninety-three percent of students in a 13,000-response survey believe tuition should be reduced for online-only education. Some are even suing for refunds.
Most universities aren’t listening. Harvard University, for instance, is charging nearly $50,000 for 2020-21 tuition and has confirmed it has no intention to change that, even if classes are only available online for the entire year.
But there are a select few universities paying attention. This isn’t a comprehensive list, but here are a few of them:
Hampton University in Virginia announced that it would be reducing tuition and fees by 15 percent for fall semester, a reduction of over $2,000 for most students. University President William Harvey directly attributed the discount to being “because of the financial burden that the pandemic has had on students and parents.”
Spelman College, a historically Black women’s college in Atlanta, Georgia, is reducing tuition by 10 percent and fees by 40 percent for all students who work completely remote in 2020 and 2021, while promising to take special effort to ensure that its online-only education is equal in quality to classroom learning.
Another historically Black college, Paul Winn College in Texas, has reduced tuition from over $8,000 to less than $6,000 while committing to full online learning.
Higher education institutions, too, are hurting in this time of financial ruin for so many, but at least some of them are making an effort to continue to do as they should, and serve their students’ needs first.