NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – As colleges and universities grapple with how to safely reopen campuses this fall, many are resorting to online classrooms and virtual learning, without lowering the price of admission.
CBS2’s Jessica Moore spoke with a Rutgers University student behind a petition to lower tuition.
“They can try to justify it and say we’re getting what we’re paying for, but we’re not,” Shreya Patel told Moore. “It’s pretty simple that remote education is not the same as education fees.”
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rutgers will offer some in-person classes this fall, but the business school, where Patel is a rising senior, will all be online.
“They’re still charging us campus fees, and the campus fees usually go toward student centers, recreation services, concerts, things like that,” she said. “Obviously, none of that is happening right now.”
Patel started a Change.org petition to lower tuition costs for students. So far, it has at least 23,000 signatures of support.
She said her calls to the university have been ignored.
A spokesperson told CBS2:
A robust Rutgers education, whether delivered in a remote, hybrid or in-person fashion, is comprehensive and is provided by some of the finest scholars in American higher education.
The university does not anticipate any reduction in tuition.
Rutgers is not alone. This week, Harvard and Georgetown announced fewer students would be allowed on campus this fall but tuition would remain the same. Princeton said it’s cutting its tuition by 10%.
“It does give me hope knowing that other schools are doing it because I know a lot of other schools aren’t, like Rutgers isn’t the only school that’s not giving a tuition cut. Which I think it’s just a bigger problem. It just sheds a light and makes it worse,” said Patel. “Hopefully, this petition gains more attention for other schools, too.”
She hopes the university will at least consider cutting campus fees, which she said cost roughly $14,000 – not a small sum for families struggling to get by during a global pandemic.
The Rutgers Board of Governors did freeze tuition and fees for the coming year, rather than implementing an increase.