Financial questions loom as schools stay online for fall semester
CALGARY -- Questions about money are front of mind for many students and post secondary institutions as most continue with a new way of learning.
Many universities and colleges have announced they’ll be hosting the majority of their classes online when school resumes in September.
That includes the University of Calgary, which announced Thursday that it intends to only have 30 per cent of staff and students inside the campus at a time.
That means many large classes will be only available online, and many students will only get in-person learning for smaller lectures and labs.
That has hundreds of students calling for a discount come autumn.
“Students shouldn’t have to pay the same price for an experience they didn’t agree to,” third-year student Esther Nwafor told CTV News. “Classes aren’t just composed of lectures.”
Nwafor started an online petition calling for a 30 per cent tuition reduction in the fall semester. It’s been backed by the U of C’s Students Union.
“I don’t feel like it’s really the same quality of education we’re getting," Nwafor said. "That’s not anyone’s fault, but I think our tuition should reflect that.”
She says technical difficulties have bogged down some of her spring classes, and believes the missing face-to-face element has hurt her education.
“We are a world class university and we are offering world class instruction,” U of C Chancellor Deborah Yedlin said. “You’re still receiving the same education. It’s being delivered in a different way, but that doesn’t denigrate the quality.”
Yedlin said the school is open to changes surrounding recreation fees and potentially transit passes, but tuition won’t budge.
The statement comes as universities and colleges across the province deal with financial issues of their own.
Some Alberta institutions say they’re facing mass layoffs due to funding decisions made by the UCP government.
“It’s about optimizing the resources we have and making sure we can adapt what we have to meet the needs of all the students,” Yedlin said.
Red Deer College announced this September shift to primarily-online learning last week.
The University of Alberta, University of British Columbia and McGill University have also announced similar plans.
It’s expected Calgary’s Mount Royal University will make a fall semester decision soon.