Opinion: Tuition problem


Ricky Barker, Columnist

To say that the virus has changed the college experience would be an understatement. In many ways, it has upended the whole thing. Everything we once took for granted has been taken away. Gone are the regular trips to the dining hall, clubs and sports, the parties and in-person classes. While there are still some still available, most courses have shifted to online formats. 

It’s understandable why the university would make a move like this. It’s simply too dangerous for students to meet in the large groups that traditional classes require. However, it’s undeniable that for many of those classes, the online experience is not the same. Some classes simply can’t be taught in that environment, such as dance or theatre. However, the faculty must do the best they can with the resources available.

What’s incomprehensible is why students have to pay the same amount for less of an education. Every enrolled student is paying a tuition fee that represents a brick-and-mortar public university, one where they expect in-person classes. However, that’s not what we’re receiving. How is it fair to expect the student body to pay the same tuition amount?

The campus needs to have money coming in to run, and it’s hard to suddenly cut budgets. There are many entities that need funding and there’s probably already a tight financial squeeze on the school. However, it seems to be the only right action to do. Make no mistake, App State is ripping us off. We are paying a first-rate price for what is frankly a second-rate experience. If you want all online classes, there’s cheaper institutions.

App State needs to refund a portion of tuition. College is inherently a business, and the students are customers. This business is trying to make us pay full price for a product that is clearly broken. If the university has any respect for the money that its customers are paying, it should do something about it. Create a price for the new normal, a price that reflects what we’re actually getting.