By Catherine Brown–

Online classes may be convenient for many of us, but it doesn’t provide students with the same educational experiences as in-person classes. To charge the same tuition for hybrid and remote classes is ridiculous.

“I definitely think the cost of online classes seems expensive. And you know, it used to be they charged more for online courses, which is crazy,” said Liam Spencer, a senior computer information systems major. “I actually like online classes for the most part. It is very convenient for me, so overall it has worked pretty well for me. But I can definitely see how some students would prefer in person and benefit from that more.”

According to a recent article in the New York Times, students at Columbia University have gone on a protest against the university’s tuition policy for the spring semester. Students disagree with the school charging regular tuition rates–including additional housing and dining fees–when classes are mostly online. Students have asked for a minimum of 10 percent reduction in total fees.

In July 2020, The Louisville Cardinal reported that U of L would raise tuition rates by 2 percent to makeup for negative budget impacts.

So not only are U of L students not receiving any tuition remission, they are being asked to pay more than they were in the 2019-2020 academic year. 

Since the pandemic started, businesses across the country have closed, including companies that U of L students work at. Not all students can continue to earn income and pay off tuition like they might have before COVID-19.

The university recommends students check in with the Student Financial Aid Office (SFAO) if they need assistance with tuition. The SFAO offers certain scholarships and loans for eligible students. But some students say that’s not enough.

“We aren’t using the classrooms as much, the library has been out of commission for a while now, we can’t enjoy the amenities that are included in the tuition. There are online schools whose tuition costs less for these reasons, so it doesn’t make sense as to how Louisville can justify why they aren’t lowering their tuition to match those online schools,” said Lindsey Wright, a senior studying communications.

When classes are remote, students don’t get the same valuable face-to-face interactions with classmates. This makes it hard to make connections with peers or network with professors.

Networking with others is important for students about to enter the job market.

Debra Feldman, a member of Columbia’s Career Coaches Network, said that whenever you aren’t actively networking, “you are missing out on opportunities and actually making it easier for competitors to grab the position that could be yours.”

But online classes hinder students from meeting their professors in the traditional way, which means professors probably won’t get the chance to communicate as closely with students. That could hurt your chances of having professors be references for future jobs and careers.

It’s not fair for any school to ask students to pay the same rates as they charged for the last academic year.

And as a U of L student, you shouldn’t have to tolerate it, either.

Graphic by Andrew Campbell // The Louisville Cardinal