Should post-secondary students be compensated for online schooling?

The COVID-19 pandemic threw students for a loop when colleges and universities closed their campuses and began offering classes solely online.

The pandemic started over two years ago, with many students having spent most, if not all, of their post-secondary schooling online.

But is it fair to expect students to pay the same tuition fees as the classes before them who were given the full, in-person experience?

“I don’t feel as though it makes sense,” says Gabriela Merlos, who is a recent graduate from the Early Childhood Development program at Algonquin College. “By charging students the same tuition fees as those who were able to complete their studies in person, you’re arguing that the education students received online is equal to the education others received in person. That’s just not the case.”

While professors and program coordinators scrambled to do the best they could, online schooling is nowhere near as interactive and informative as it should be.

Asking questions and receiving academic help is harder than ever, and navigating platforms like Brightspace and Zoom is a challenge in itself.

Students were also uprooted from their dorms during a housing crisis, forced to purchase new equipment for online schooling, and sent into a learning environment with very little socialization.

“When I paid for university, I paid for the experience, the sports games, the events, and the activities, not to sit in my bed browsing through slides, practically teaching myself,” admits Teah Girvan, Health Sciences student at the University of Ottawa.

Not only are students losing out on most of their post-secondary experience, but they are also being charged unnecessary fees on top of full tuition.

Sports fees and event fees are still expected to be paid, despite cancellations due to COVID. This means that while no events or sports games occurred during the pandemic, students were still expected to pay for them.

“Navigating school online has been a hard enough transition, but to be expected to pay thousands of dollars a semester for half of the education feels a bit ridiculous,” confesses Gabriela. “Especially when a lot of the things we’re paying for have been shut down because of the pandemic.”

It’s understandable that colleges and universities need funds to keep schools up and running, but the pressure to keep schools funded shouldn’t fall on students simply trying to get an education.

Hard times have been brought upon everyone in the past two years, and these troubles have made an impact on students as well.

It only makes sense for students to be compensated for not being provided the full education that they were promised and, above all, that they paid for.


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