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The Debate Over Tuition: Students Pushing for Lower Costs

Posted at 8:47 AM, Aug 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-06 08:47:43-04

LANSING, Mich. — A recent survey shows 93 percent of college students feel tuition should be reduced this semester since most classes will be held online.students around the country have started to sign petitions demanding this. Alicia Nieves shows us which colleges have listened and what students are saying they'll do if others don’t.

Most university have confirmed most classes will be online this semester.

“I feel terrible, you know, by this one semester that I have to pay the exact same amount as I would by getting a whole college experience.”

Gabrielle Perez is a Junior at Michigan State University and is one of many college students demanding lower tuition with online classes.

She’s even started a petition at her school citing “online classes hold a far less value compared to those that were once in a classroom”

“You are at a Big 10 school, I am paying for a big ten school. I’m not getting the big ten school experience.”

Currently MSU, has only committed to a “tuition freeze”, keeping tuition the same as the previous two years.

[note: 10% Tuition reduction at Georgetown University, Princeton University , Lafayette College, Rowan University, Lafayette College, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, American University. 15% tuition reduction at Hampton University, Williams College]

But around the country other higher education institutions have begun reducing their tuition.

Some, by 10 to 15%, while one, Southern New Hampshire University is now offering incoming freshman full tuition scholarships for the first year, and slashing the price for everyone else from $31,000 to $10,000.

“You can’t talk about prices and what institutions are charging students without talking about cost and in many cases the costs are going up.”

Denisa Gandara is an Assistant Professor of educational policy and leadership at Southern Methodist University, and says many higher education institutions are reluctant to reducing tuition because of additional cost this year. Like the cost for remote learning equipment, training instructors to teach remotely effectively, and higher health insurance premiums.

“I imagine institutions are still looking at their numbers and trying to decide whether they do need to lower their prices to attract more students.”

Because the fear is students will drop out or take the semester off. Some have threatened that in their petitions.

“You have so much time to go back to college anyways, that this one semester or maybe whole year is not going to define you.”

In fact, some financial experts like Calvin Williams Jr, CEO at Freeman’s Capital are encouraging some college students to reconsider attendance at a 4 year institutions right now and consider going to a community college for a semester or two, where the tuition is already drastically lower.

“Going down the community college first route, for at least a COVID time like this, it will allow you to save money on tuition on room and board and you will have a lot of flexibility in a year or two when you transfer to a four year, carry those credits but carry less debt.”

Williams says students have options... some colleges and universities may see that this semester in their enrollment numbers.

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