Why should I pay the full tuition fee for online university courses? U of T petition garners support


More than 3,300 University of Toronto students have signed a petition claiming reduced tuition fees for distance learning.

“We demand that justice and tuition fees be reduced to reflect the change in course delivery as well as our loss of quality in-person education, campus facilities and related resources covered by tuition fees.” , says the petition.

On Saturday night, it had 3,355 signatures.

Plans to run at least a third of undergraduate courses with an in-person component have drawn opposition from faculty and staff unions, citing security concerns.

In an email to students on Friday, Melanie Woodin, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Toronto, wrote that the school was “reconfirmation” plans with instructors for in-person learning and said that “it is possible that some of the courses you signed up for with an in-person component will move to online delivery in the coming weeks.”

While the university says the quality of online learning is similar, many students disagree.

“We believe that distance learning and in-person learning are fundamentally different and cannot provide the same quality education for everyone,” the petition reads. “For courses that rely heavily on hands-on learning, it just doesn’t make sense to go online. “

Distractions, connectivity and other technical difficulties are among the concerns. The “unfavorable” timing of online courses for distance learning students from different time zones was also mentioned.

U of T undergraduate tuition (excluding ancillary fees) starts at $ 6,100 for home arts and science students. In commerce and engineering, it can reach $ 15,900. For international students? Up to $ 64,810.

The university has reduced some ancillary costs: 30% less for athletics, while student space fees are not charged on the downtown campus.

Those who signed the petition say it is not enough.

On the arts and sciences COVID-19 FAQ page, the University of Toronto defended the decision not to reduce tuition fees and encouraged students facing financial difficulties to apply for financial aid, as well as other government aid programs: “The Benefit and supporting quality online education require major investments. We are devoting substantial resources and effort to educational and technological innovations to prepare for the fall semester as many university programs continue to be delivered through online means. Some courses will include in-person elements, to the extent possible, in accordance with public health and government guidelines. “

With files from Tom Yun

Raneem Alozzi is a breaking news reporter, working in the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @r_alozzi

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