Tuition freezes and refunds are among the proposed options
By Atiba Nelson, Staff Reporter
With the curve flattening, the start of spring, and dwindling economic options ahead, a group of protestors have begun imploring the provincial government to ease public health restrictions which they find oppressive.
However, this group is not the only cohort upset at their institutions. Irritated college students in the United States have begun demanding their educational institutions refund tuition due to lackluster online course delivery. Some have sued their schools with the hopes of receiving thousands of dollars back.
The lynchpin of the lawsuits is that students believe their educational institutions did not honour their agreement to provide the necessary tools to learn during campus closures and mandatory online classes.
“I am missing out on everything that [my university] has to offer—from libraries, the gym, computer labs, study rooms, and lounges,” said Grainger Rickenbaker—a student who is suing Philadelphia’s Drexel University—in an interview with Bloomberg News.
Rickenbaker pays over $60,000 in tuition and living expenses. Although Douglas College tuition is not as expensive, a Douglas professor believes that the college should be helping students during the COVID-19 pandemic, albeit not through a refund.
Chris Maguire, a faculty member in the English language learning and acquisition (College Preparatory English) department, recently advocated for a tuition decrease of 50 percent at Douglas. He states that the pandemic presents a good time for the college to raise goodwill in the eyes of students.
“It’s a time in our society when we need to do the right thing,” Maguire told the New Westminster Record, “it seems it would be a good time for them to make that grand gesture.”
Maguire argues that Douglas is profitable annually and a decrease in profit over several semesters would not impact the college’s bottom line, especially when the students served by the college are facing economic hardships.
“If Douglas only makes $1 million next year instead of $10 or $7 [million], what’s the harm?” said Maguire. Although Douglas College is a not-for-profit entity, the college does have an endowment of over 20 million dollars through the Douglas College Foundation—which can operate at the behest of the college.
“Tuition [is] increasing faster than the cost of living for students that I teach, that are international, and they’re increasing [tuition] to [the] maximum allowable by law for the domestic students, and it’s not necessary to do it unless you need the money,” said Maguire.