Who could forget the classic episode of The Office (US), “Scott’s Tots?” In case you’re unfamiliar, well-meaning dimwitted boss Michael Scott reveals he promised a class of third graders to pay their college tuition.
Thinking he would somehow be a millionaire by the time the third graders hit high school, Scott finds out the class is about to graduate high school and he has nowhere near the money to show for it.
To rectify this, he brings everyone laptop batteries, claiming “The best kind of tuition,” which is likely the most cringe-worthy moment of the series.
This brings me to the current day, where it seems universities in New York took a page out of Michael Scott’s book and thought online learning would replace what we pay for.
In response to this, three universities, Pace, Columbia, and LIU (which have transitioned to online “learning”) are facing a class-action lawsuit. Charging full tuition, which goes to facilities and equipment.
Yeah, online learning is a switch-up no student was expecting. And certainly, not one that they asked for.
Many schools across the country have shut down for the year, as lessons are not easily replicable online, refunding tuition as such. Zoom is no replacement, and if the quarantine stays up, schools will likely see a drastic drop in enrollment.
As a Pace University student, I was only told about the suit via a friend of mine in Reno. There was not a single email announcement, nor was it brought up by any faculty. This can only lead one to believe these schools want to keep this situation as quiet as possible, despite news coverage.
Pace, with its $182 million endowments, shouldn’t have an issue with tuition rebates. Neither should Columbia, with their lowest endowment return submitted last year at $10.9 billion.
These funds are granted so in the event of a shutdown, the school is prepared. Prepared they are, generous they are not. Their funds would be plenty to refund the students, as well as give the faculty a well-deserved bonus. Not to mention the adjunct professors, who have been hit the hardest. The work that they do shall not go in vain.
This is a unique point in time where students can have their concerns not only listened to but bring about lasting change in doing so. Some advice from a senior: if you are a current student at one of these New York schools (which you know charge up and out the ass), spread the word about this, as your schools will not.
Also, if you are an incoming college freshman, I would strongly consider deferring enrollment for a year, as maybe then you will get what you pay for.