As the school year’s start loomed closer over the summer, Stockton students waited for news about the university’s reopening plan. On August 13, students received a “Return to Campus” update from President Kesselman, detailing the “new normal.” However, one update not announced was a reduction in tuition and fees. Many students are now speaking out, especially as other universities slash their prices in light of the pandemic.
The email about returning to campus featured several guidelines. Courses will resume in a variety of modalities, including online, hybrid, and limited in-person instruction. The library will operate at a 25% capacity, with in-person seating and hours of operation reduced. Computer labs will operate with physical distancing and reduced capacity. On-campus housing will prohibit all visitors, and lounge or common areas in housing will be limited. Finally, the transportation fee will only be refunded if a student has no classes in person and no on-campus housing.
Other New Jersey universities, such as Rowan and Princeton, have cut tuition for this semester by as much as 10%. However, Stockton has no plans to reduce tuition costs. Senior Gabby Bibus, double majoring in Literature and Language & Culture Studies, is one of the few who understand why the tuition will remain the same. “We’re technically still receiving the same education, just in a different format,” Bibus said.
Despite this, the majority feels differently, as students are upset that their experience is drastically changing without a tuition cost reduction. “I came to Stockton for the small class sizes that allowed me to go in-depth with my peers and professors on the subject matter,” says Kelly Burns, a senior Literature major. “Much of this is inherently lost due to technical limitations.”
Students recognize that changes are necessary for public health and safety. Still, they feel that mainly-online courses do not warrant such high tuition costs or provide the same quality of education.
Other New Jersey universities, such as Rutgers and The College of New Jersey, announced they will cut fees for services such as the library and student center, as students can no longer utilize these services. Despite criticism for not following suit, Stockton has made no such plans—stating it only plans to cut its transportation fee for certain students.
Burns says she disapproves of the decrease in dining options and the fact that gyms remain closed. “We are charged for little conveniences that cannot exist as we fight a pandemic,” she said. “Paying fees for things we can’t even use is unfair and frankly greedy.” With cuts to almost all aspects of student life, there are no cuts in fees for students.
Overall, while students recognize the university needs to scale back in certain aspects due to COVID-19, they also feel the financial burden of paying for reduced or not offered services. Mainly, returning ospreys have expressed concern that Stockton solely sees them as profit centers—and want to either receive the services they pay for or see Stockton cut costs accordingly.
Categories: Stockton News