DePaul students demand university lower tuition next quarter

A petition entitled “Lower Tuition for DePaul University after making all classes online” was created Thursday to direct the university’s attention towards student concerns relating to the cost of admission given the university’s plans to hold classes entirely online for the Spring Quarter.

“Most classes will be moved to online in Spring Quarter due to the COVID-19 outbreak, therefore, there should be a decrease in tuition since the educational services offered are not equal to services rendered,” the petition reads. 

Sophomore Ethan Ng initially created a post in the DePaul Official Class of 2022 discussing his concerns about tuition costs for next quarter. Following a positive response from fellow users in the group, he created the petition and shared it in the same Facebook group. 

The petition has acquired over 3,000 signatures after one day. Comments from supporters consistently reflect concerns of paying hefty prices for a perceived educational downgrade.

“I will struggle and likely fail my classes if they’re online,” one comment reads. “Don’t take my money and run.”

“Why should I pay full tuition to do work at home on my computer? Tuition needs to be lowered if I won’t get the full service,” another reads.

“One of the main reasons that I came to DePaul was because of the smaller class sizes that would allow me to develop interpersonal relationships with the professors to be successful in the classes and learn,” Ng said. “With the online classes, it’s much harder to develop those relationships. I also just learn better with in-person classes because what generally happens is I have to teach myself some of the content in online classes.” 

Ng said he hopes to have a more robust discussion with the university to “state the case of the signers and hopefully be able to speak with someone who can make [the decision to lower tuition.]”

DePaul Central declined to comment on how finances may change for next quarter. 

“The extent of the financial impact has not yet been determined,” said university spokesperson Carol Hughes. “The safety and health of our community, and doing all we can to continue our students’ progress toward degree completion, are our priorities.”

Some students feel that while adopting the online-only method was a responsible choice, it does not mean that the educational experience will be of the same quality.

“I don’t want to say the education quality would be low, because DePaul professors are qualified with their subjects, but I think it’s easier for students to get less out of classes if they’re online or at home,” said senior Avery Ferin. “Basically, I think even if the professors try to make class as educational and engaging as possible students will get less out of it by not focusing in a classroom. And I want to say I totally agree with the university’s decision to go online due to the coronavirus but there are some issues with tuition prices and class engagement as a result of being all online.”

Others have suggested that the university attempt to reduce tuition costs to that of an online university, given that students won’t be able to enjoy the full privileges of their tuition dollars. 

“I think matching the cost of an online university’s tuition could be a good solution,” said senior Katie Kostelic. “Or at least discounting tuition or allowing students to take spring quarter off with no financial backlash meaning that they can still access their scholarships in the future despite taking the quarter off.”

Ng said that while he thinks DePaul has a responsibility to do right by students and adhere to Vincentian values, they will ultimately make a choice dependent on business interests. 

“The school is for-profit so I think it’s going to be a decision that will be a balance between DePaul’s values and it’s goals financially,” he said.