Students want tuition slashed as universities and colleges go online during pandemic
OTTAWA -- There is a growing online petition to reduce university tuition fees for this fall semester.
Many colleges and universities will be offering courses through online learning but students think the money they pay should reflect that.
Jasmine Doobay-Joseph is a student, heading into her second year at Carleton University. She has started an online petition, asking to have tuition reduced.
"Why am I paying three thousand dollars a semester for online courses that I’m doing right from my bed?" She asks. "We have to do everything from our homes."
Colleges and universities, like other sectors in society, have had to adapt to COVID-19. Many courses will be taught online and through what the Province of Ontario is calling "virtual learning, in-class instruction, or hybrid formats."
Students, who are not attending school on-campus, think if they’re spending most of their time online, their tuition should decrease. Almost 3,000 students and parents have signed the petition.
David Gauder-Lerer is heading into his first year at the University of Ottawa and says he doesn't want to pay full price for an online education.
"If I’m not getting access to all of the facilities, it doesn’t add up that I should be paying full price."
The province says they have frozen tuition for the upcoming academic year, but add that online services also cost money.
In a July 6 statement to CTV News Ottawa, the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities writes:
"In order to be able to deliver online courses to all students, major adjustments had to be made to online platforms at our postsecondary institutions. These adjustments, the development and delivery of online courses, and other service modifications have been costly for institutions."
Students, however, feel differently.
"I think it really points to the testament of students’ concerns about affordability of post-secondary education as a whole," says Julia Pereira, president of the Ontario Undergraduate Alliance. The organization represents 150,000 students in Ontario.
The OUA thinks tuition needs to be lowered in general, not just because of online courses.
"Students, we know, are really facing difficult financial times right now. They may have lost their jobs over the summer or they’re not working as often as they would have been, pre-COVID," Pereira says.
Doobay-Joseph is looking forward to being back on campus.
"I cannot wait to be able to see my friends again; my professors; eventually join clubs, that’s what I’m paying for."