Paying full tuition for online classes, or even a hybrid model, makes no sense. Nobody should have to pay the same amount of tuition for a lower quality of education.
One of the draws of attending Pacific is the intimacy of one-on-one instruction with a smaller environment of students. Students are able to be individually recognized, appreciated, and taught by staff and their peers. A screen removes that level of connection. It removes the individual from the campus, their peers, and their teachers. Students now maintain their same course loads, spending hours at a computer screen, with limited physical human interaction. It sucks, but the student body has adjusted to the circumstances. Why hasn’t tuition adjusted to the circumstances?
It’s true that administration never could have anticipated schooling during COVID-19. But students are Pacific’s customers. Pacific is a business, and education is the product. It’s clear that the product has been altered, reduced, and shrunk to fit a structure that doesn’t suit that majority of students. And yet we’re still paying the same price.
Pacific helped students by giving $500 grants, and organizing a student emergency fund. The school reduced technology and recreation fees. They’re even giving students a free semester. The aid helps and gives some relief, but let’s be honest. That’s just a drop in the bucket when students are paying $46,000 a year.
There’s also a catch to the free semester. Student’s have to attend Pacific for the 2020-2021 school year. Graduating in the fall of 2020 makes a student ineligible for the free semester. The free semester is specifically designed for students to take part in sports, performances, events, ensembles, and community engagement they missed out on. These students who graduate early have likewise felt the burden of schooling during COVID-19. They endured Zoom lecture after Zoom lecture, and maintained heavy online course loads. They gave up sports, musical performances, and events. Yet the university dismisses their eligibility and fails to recognize a portion of the student body who are equally deserving of the free semester.
Additionally, millions of Americans now face unemployment because of the pandemic. Even reducing tuition by 5% would help students and families who have been laid off. With the circumstances of the nation, Pacific could adjust their tuition to match the quality of the education. Maybe then students wouldn’t have to choose between supporting themselves and continuing their degree. — Hannah Kendall
Photo: Stock image from Pixabay