PANORAMA CITY, Calif. – College may look different these days with online classes but the fees are just about the same for students enrolled at one of the University of California campuses.
Sophomore Rosie Oganesian, who attends UC Irvine, said the education she was expecting isn’t quite the same as having her classes moved online.
“I am so stressed. It’s so difficult to study online," Oganesian said. "I have this really bad streak of procrastination where I leave everything to the last day.”
According to Oganesian, most of her classes are taught with pre-recorded lectures without a set schedule. And while classes have changed, the tuition and fees outlined for UC Irvine students have not.
“It’s just frustrating to see how if it’s all online, if we can’t go to class, if we’re not going to be able to use those, we still have to pay for those amenities that we’re not using,” Oganesian said.
That’s why she created the No Students Left Behind petition in hopes of reducing tuition and fees for her campus and others nationwide.
Spectrum News 1 reached out to the University of California about the fees. In a statement they responded:
“In many areas, the University faces increased— not lower— costs due to the pandemic and remote operations. These expenses include significant investments in video collaboration software site licenses and other technology and security enhancements required for remote student instruction, as well as to support a workforce now working remotely.”
The statement also mentions that each campus will determine refunds for campus fees in Spring 2020. With more than $126 billion in assets and about $400 million received from the CARES Act, Moze Cowper, a managing partner of Cowper Law LLP, that’s leading a class-action lawsuit against the UC and California State University system, claimed campuses can afford fee reductions.
“A lot of those folks are racking up major tuition and student fee bills that by the way, [add] insult to injury," Cowper said. "They are going to end up paying interest on for the next 25 years.”
During the pandemic, college isn’t the same for students like Oganesian that’s why she said she’s hoping UC campuses will begin to rethink their fees.
“In this time of need, we’re not receiving any help or any type of aid and if we are, it’s just one-time payments where this is an ongoing problem. We’re probably going to be online all year long,” Oganesian said.
That’s why she said she'll continue to push for cost reductions, in hopes, of convincing campuses nationwide that the on-campus costs aren’t adding up for students like her.
Full statement from the University of California:
"The University of California understands the serious health and financial concerns of students and families across California and the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Every UC campus has taken extraordinary steps — both on its own initiative and in response to federal, state, and local directives — to ensure the health and safety of the UC community during this crisis.
UC has invested in supporting its students during this rapid shift by immediately allocating funds to support remote instruction and additional student health and safety services. Additionally, the University has chosen to return a systemwide total of $300 million in refunds for housing and dining fees to students who left University housing. Campus emergency housing programs are also available to help to assist individual students facing hardships.
Mandatory systemwide University charges for tuition and student services have remained as UC continues to deliver instruction and student services such as registration, financial aid, and remote academic advising. We understand in-person instruction may be the preferred method for the vast majority of students and faculty; however, remote instruction was and is the only alternative given county and state health directives as well as mandatory shelter-in-place and social distancing measures. More importantly, remote instruction was necessary to allow students to continue their studies while protecting the safety and well-being of the UC community and the public at large. State officials and public health authorities have been clear about the guidelines for higher education and the requirement that UC cease on-campus group activities such as instruction, athletics, and other events.
Campuses have responded quickly and nimbly with remote learning approaches to help ensure students are generally able to access all required instructional materials, complete their coursework, make timely progress toward their degree and earn full course credit.
In many areas the University faces increased—not lower—costs due to the pandemic and remote operations. These expenses include significant investments in video collaboration software site licenses and other technology and security enhancements required for remote student instruction, as well as to support a workforce now working remotely.
As campuses curtailed aspects of their operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the costs that campus-based fees are intended to cover continue. Debt service for student facilities and the need to maintain campus infrastructure, for example, are not affected by the current crisis.
However, since the shift to remote instruction began, each campus has been carefully monitoring its various campus-based fees to ensure that charges are still appropriate. Now that we know more about how the pandemic impacted affected campus operations, UC’s Office of the President recently provided a guiding framework for campuses to ensure a consistent approach for evaluation of campus-based fees charged for the Spring 2020 term across all campuses. Each campus will analyze Spring 2020 campus-based fees and, each will determine, where appropriate, to issue refunds or their equivalents.
While the student experience may have changed, the University’s instruction at its core remains based on the knowledge, expertise, and experience of our top-quality faculty members. Though the delivery method has changed, this foundation for student learning remains the same. We recognize the challenges the pandemic has caused for students and their families. We will continue to listen to the concerns of our students, faculty and staff as we all work together to ensure a safe and effective learning environment."