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California State University: ‘no plans to reduce’ fall tuition despite keeping classes online

The nearly 500,000 students enrolled in the California State University system’s 23 campuses should expect to pay full price for tuition this fall.

A spokeswoman for the system told The College Fix via email that tuition is expected to remain at the regular price despite the system’s decision to remain virtual for the fall 2020 semester.

“There are no plans to reduce tuition and campus-based mandatory fees at this time,” said CSU spokeswoman Toni Molle. “One of the benefits of announcing our planning now is to allow for additional professional development opportunities for faculty and staff over the summer which lead to the best possible learning experience that we can provide for students.”

Earlier in May, the system announced it would conduct online classes for its students for the upcoming fall semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The system will allow a handful of exceptions, such as for science and medical classes for which students need lab space, or some arts and theater courses. Courses for athletes are also still under consideration as some campus leaders try to salvage their fall sports programs.

The CSU decision comes despite numerous surveys taken during the coronavirus lockdown that have found that students do not believe online classes are equivalent to in-person ones.

A recent College Fix poll of 1,000 students found that 79 percent of students say the quality of education is worse with online courses.

Another survey by OneClass polled 1,287 students from 45 colleges and universities and asked: “Do you feel like you are receiving a quality e-learning experience from your university/college since classrooms were closed to students?” In response, 75.5 percent of students responded saying no, they are not receiving a quality e-learning experience from their current school.

A survey of 2,800 high school seniors earlier this month by Carnegie Dartlet found one in three is “willing to defer or cancel their fall semester if schools go totally online.”

And nearly two thirds of students at Princeton University responded to a recent campus survey that they “would seriously consider” taking a leave of absence if the Ivy League institution does not return for on-campus classes in the fall.

The CSU system is already facing budget woes. It reports that it projects it has lost $337 million in spring semester revenue from student housing, parking and the campus bookstores, in addition to cleaning and overtime expenses.

Meanwhile, numerous colleges around the country are facing lawsuits for refusing to partially refund students this spring as “students did not agree to attend online school, nor did they agree to pay the high cost of tuition for online classes,” says Steve Berman of Hagens Berman law firm who has filed complaints against Boston University, the University of Southern California and Vanderbilt University, among others.

Scott Galloway, successful entrepreneur, best-selling author, and professor of marketing at NYU Stern School of Business, said university leaders are trying to cope with massive changes and challenging budgets.

“At universities, we’re having constant meetings, and we’ve all adopted this narrative of ‘This is unprecedented, and we’re in this together,’ which is Latin for ‘We’re not lowering our prices, bitches,’” NYU Professor Scott Galloway told New York Magazine. “Universities are still in a period of consensual hallucination with each saying, ‘We’re going to maintain these prices for what has become, overnight, a dramatically less compelling product offering.’”

Galloway continued to say that university and technological partnerships, where students are glued to computer screens, are likely directions for future education; a “HarvardxFacebook” or an “iStanford,” as he describes.

MORE: 79% of students say quality of education worse with online courses

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About the Author
Ben Walls -- Virginia Tech