RPI Sued for not Lowering Tuition and Fees During Pandemic
A class-action lawsuit brought by students and parents against RPI has been given the green light by U.S. District Court to proceed. The lawsuit contends that RPI should give refunds, lower tuition, and fees due to the coronavirus pandemic fording the school to teach remotely. RPI argues that they didn't have any control over the effects of the virus on their teaching and that RPI never promised in classroom teaching or a traditional college experience.
I totally understand both positions. As a parent of a college student, I was really surprised when the college that my son attended flat out said no they wouldn't be giving any adjustments to tuition or fees for classes in 2020. However, they did offer a discount on room and board due to the pandemic forcing them to close the dorms.
I also understand the college administrator's point of view. They didn't cause the pandemic and they are giving instruction the best they can. Colleges need to make money and pay bills too. It's kind of a catch 22 that isn't easy to decide.
I'm sure colleges and universities all over the country are waiting to see what happens with this class-action lawsuit. It could set a precedent that colleges will start issuing refunds or discounted tuition for remote learning. On the other hand, it might mean that there will not be any adjustment this year.
According to The Best Schools website, More than 15,000 students at the University of Washington signed a petition asking the school to refund at least part of their tuition after campus closed in spring. It states that critical factors are missing from the learning experience, including access to labs, facilities, and face-to-face guidance. With all the financial pressures, colleges are not going to cut tuition unless they have no choice," said Mark Kantrowitz, publisher and vice president of research at Savingforcollege.com.
The flip side of the tuition coin is that without the operating budget brought in by tuition and fees many colleges and universities could close. According to Inside Higher Ed, students need to understand that the very existence of their college may be at stake as the economic fallout from the pandemic becomes apparent.