WC should decrease the cost of tuition during virtual semesters

By Nia Anthony

Elm Staff Writer

In an email sent to campus on Oct. 16, Washington College said that while all students will be welcomed back to campus for the spring semester, classes would be conducted virtually for the time being. This was a follow-up to an email sent on Oct. 5, which stated that only 450 students would be permitted on campus.

Many students believe that tuition should be reduced for all students during the virtual spring semester. 

“Why should I have to pay the full price if I’m staying home?” freshman Frank Burzynski said. “I’m not using a dorm, eating your food, or using anything the school pays for.” 

Even though WC will allow all students to live on campus, some will still be taking online courses from home to save money. 

A reduction in tuition, especially considering that many students will likely be staying home, seems like the most obvious solution. Why should we have to pay thousands of dollars in the middle of a pandemic for classes being held on our computer screens?

On the other hand, a reduction in tuition might mean a great loss for WC as an institution. Many colleges and universities have taken a financial hit in the past few months because of their responses to the pandemic.

Due to the number of students living at home, many colleges and universities have lost a significant amount of money they would have gotten from the cost of room and board. Many of the schools that have given tuition reductions to offer students relief during the COVID-19 pandemic are reporting a distinct depletion in funds. 

On Oct. 16, Dean of Students at Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University Fred Bronstein emailed students about the institution’s significant financial loss following a 10% tuition reduction for the fall semester. 

“This year (FY21) Peabody was on track, pre-COVID-19, to achieving the first positive bottom line in our plan; however, the impact of COVID-19 and specifically our decision to reduce tuition 10 percent this fall for all students resulted in re-budgeting FY21 to include a planned loss of $3.7 million,” Bronstein said in the email. 

Other schools have already hit rock bottom after reducing tuition due to COVID-19. The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education toldThe Post-Gazette and The Philadelphia Inquirer that Pennsylvania colleges and universities are facing up to $100 million in financial losses. 

If WC is in a similar position, is it worth dishing out reduced tuition? 

Considering that some students are questioning whether they should stay at the College at all due to their dissatisfaction with the administration’s COVID-19 response, it is more than fair for WC to reduce tuition for all online students. 

“If I have to pay a little more to be in person at a different school I will,” Burzynski said. 

With the economic crisis that has come with the pandemic, financial situations for college students have become more complicated. Regardless of their decisions surrounding on-campus housing, students are finding it hard to see a good reason to pay full price for a school not offering in-person classes.

Featured Photo caption: WC’s announcement that they would not lower the cost of tuition during virtual semesters raised complaints from much of the student body. Photo by Rebecca Kanaskie.

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