Even Trump Knows This: American Colleges Overcharging for Junk ‘Virtual’ Classes this Fall

Schools with huge endowments are pretending remote learning is the same experience. Give students a break

 Harvard is one of the colleges who will offer the bulk of their courses online. But why aren’t they reducing the cost of tuition? Photograph: Charles Krupa/AP

Guardian: Colleges and universities are in an unprecedented bind. Coronavirus continues to rage in many parts of America, making the sort of communal gatherings that are hallmarks of collegiate life outright dangerous. Lecture halls, libraries, football games and dorm-room parties can all be superspreader events.

Some educational institutions have already declared that almost the entire academic year will occur remotely, while others are forging on with in-person learning. Two of the schools I teach at, NYU and St Joseph’s College in Brooklyn, are attempting the latter, which will carry its own risks, depending on how New York City progresses in its continuing battle to keep infection rates low.

For schools that have decided against most in-person instruction, the caution exercised is understandable. The University of California system, Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Rutgers have all declared that the bulk of their course offerings will be online. But about 60% of schools nationwide are still planning an in-person start to the year.

What they all aren’t doing is reducing tuition, even though a significant portion of the value these educational institutions provide is now lost indefinitely. Only Princeton has offered a 10% price cut. Harvard, with its $40bn endowment, is still charging full tuition. So are Rutgers and the University of California schools, both public universities.

Though they charge less than private institutions, Rutgers or a University of California school aren’t cheap. In-state students at California public universities still pay about $14,000 a year to attend. At Rutgers, in New Jersey, in-state students pay a little more than $12,000. (At both schools, out-of-state tuition is far higher, more than $40,000 and $30,000 respectively.)

read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/10/universities-coronavirus-colleges-remote-learning


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  1. It could sufficiently be argued that colleges and universities overcharge for real classes. If there are ten people in a class as opposed to fifty, does the cost per credit/hour go up or down? Of course, not(no pun intended)! So, it’s not a supply/demand calculation. With the exception of labs, a degree in gender studies costs the same as an engineering degree. Is there anything that has been more inflated than the cost/value of a college education over the last four decades?

    • Engineering Departments get quite a bit of funding for research projects which offsets some of the costs. However, the materials lab I taught in as TA two decades ago had nearly half a million dollars worth of equipment for 12-students lab classes.

      When I was at UIUC, an engineering degree cost more than a liberal arts degree, since between 135 and 140 credit hours were required, as opposed to 120 hours for the fluff degrees.

      Gender studies degrees are useful for knowing which of the 62 pronouns to use when addressing customers on the other side of the fast-food restaurant counter.

  2. I remember getting out of high school back in 1966 and my dad telling me to go to school and make something of myself instead of joining the military and be sent to Vietnam. At the time, in-state tuition at the University of Wisconsin was $65 per semester. So, that’s what I did, got a job in a paper mill in the summer and go to college in the fall. It was a time when the state government actually wanted working-class kids to go to college, unlike now when they put all kids of impediments in the way of doing that: sky high tuition, usurious loans, etc.

    Eventually, I became a Special Education teacher instead of killing Vietnamese. That was the best advice my dad ever gave me.

    • It is hardly worth it either way. The article and comments are “pushing” that the class size is small. Not so!
      crammed into an auditorium with 200-300 others to listen to a teacher lie his ass off. No thanks. I went through that once, never again!

    • Weren’t working-class college kids a large part of pushing back against the “War is a Racket” conflict in Vietnam…? The banker gangsters realized that regular people were getting too smart, so education is one system that got axed.

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