I should not pay full tuition for a fraction of the college experience

Samuel Harris

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have pondered this question many times: why am I paying full price for tuition when I’m not getting the full college experience?

I did a quick calculation based on the current undergraduate tuition and the student population. CWU rakes in at least $90 million per quarter, and that’s without considering out-of-state tuition, room and board, vending, merchandise, books, meal plans and many other fees.

Sure, my tuition pays for many on-campus activities like the Recreation Center, health center and the library, but these amenities are mostly incentivized for the >1,800 students who live on-campus. 

Even on-campus students do not get the full college experience, since most of their classes are online. Really the only on-campus students getting anything close to a full experience are our athletic students, since they get to train with their teammates in-person. 

For the first two quarters of last year, I was making friends left and right as an independent college student. I was even encouraged to make new friends in my classes by collaborating on projects requiring full group participation. Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve met no peers outside of class I didn’t know previously.

My professors have all been online, in their homes and not even on the CWU campus. Every single quarter since spring 2020, I have had at least one class in my schedule where the professor doesn’t even host a single Zoom meeting. Some of my professors would hardly even show their face outside of pre-recorded lectures. They just posted all of our assignments and left us out to dry. 

Now, I’m not saying that I learned nothing from these classes. What I am saying is that this behavior is lazy, disappointing and disrespectful to the people paying CWU tens of millions of dollars per quarter. My tuition should not be going towards classes that I can finish before finals week, and I think we all deserve a refund if we cannot see our tuition dollars at work.