College in the US is overpriced and gets bad returns on what one wants. Once a potentially good or OK investment, it is now a bad investment that perpetually impoverishes many people because it is so expensive.
A lot of students are upset about this, but keep going because they believe it is a “way to success”. However, a rebellion may be brewing as AFP reports by way of Yahoo! News that due to the COVID-19 lockdown, students are going to online classes but are being charged full price tuition with prices up to $70,000 USD per year.
The cost of a university education in the United States has long been eye-watering, with a year costing tens of thousands of dollars.
But as the coronavirus crisis settles in, students — many of whom take out huge loans to finance their degrees — are wondering how to justify spending $70,000 a year on…. Zoom classes.
They feel like they’re getting the raw end of the deal, and are demanding that their colleges be held to account.
“We’re paying for other services that the campus offers that aren’t digitized,” says Dhrumil Shah, who is doing a Master’s degree in public health at George Washington University.
The 24-year-old relied in part on loans to pay for his two-year program in the US capital. In a few days, he will earn his diploma, but there will be no traditional graduation ceremony.
Shah has signed one of several petitions demanding some kind of reimbursement from the school.
“I think the quality of service has decreased,” Shah, a native of Chicago, told AFP.
He complains that the shift to distance learning due to stay-at-home orders in effect in Washington to curb the spread of the deadly virus has resulted in a loss of structure and supervision.
“It sets up the person going through that experience for failure,” he says, admitting he’s become “drastically” unproductive without the accountability of in-person classes.
Shah is not alone. Many students have lamented that their quintessential American college experience has been lost — no sunny afternoons on college quads playing frisbee, no classes in high-tech labs, no crazy nights out.
Molly Riddick also signed a petition demanding that her school, New York University, make some kind of gesture to compensate its students.
“No matter how much NYU insists to the contrary, it is simply not possible to provide a full performing arts education via Zoom,” she said in a comment on change.org.
Some students have taken their grievances to court. In one complaint seen by AFP, Adelaide Dixon accuses the University of Miami of awarding her a diploma with a “diminished” value because of the nature of online and pass/fail courses.
She has sued the school for several million dollars, on behalf of about 100 students.
At least 50 US colleges and universities have been sued by students on similar grounds. (source)
This may be the beginning of a major and long overdue rebellion against university prices and the concept of the degree itself.
It is a simple thing to understand. College costs too much, the value isn’t worth it, and students can’t pay any more. Either the price comes down or college has to go away in its current form. It will not disappear permanently, but it cannot survive as it currently functions because it is a bad investment.
The entire Millennial and a lot of the Zoomer generation is mostly locked out of buying houses because of low-paying jobs coupled with student loan debts. People see this after a while and realize that being stuck renting for the rest of one’s life combined with unending debt is not worth the investment. What makes this worse is that both generations were heavily propagandized and outright lied to as for what the promises of what a degree would bring versus what it actually caused. When one’s family, since one is a small child, emphasize repeatedly that this “thing” is what one needs in order to be successful, and then one gets it and upon receiving it discovers it was all a lie and then there is no way to help fix the problem, bad things happen real fast.
Such is with college. The institution needs to, like the restaurant industry, go through a severe contraction, and it needs to return to its historical roots, which are an institution where people go to learn how to think, not a place where people go to get a “ticket punched” for success in life.
Education is good. College is good and has its place, but its place today is not what is should ever have been made into. It is time that like so many abnormal things presented as normal, it is returned to its proper role, and if COVID-19 is one way by which the process begins to happen, for all of the bad things that the virus has done, this can go down not as something that the virus ‘destroyed’, but rather social rot that the virus exposed so that it can be healed.
And for the universities that overspend on bloated budgets and projects funded by student debts? There have been many universities who have told students that the debts they incurred are not their problem, and that it was their financial responsibility to consider if they could pay their debts in the future, all the while promoting the concept that students need to take out burdensome debt levels in order to better their future. Perhaps the same advice that so many gave to students can be given to universities here, that they should have planned better, that they should have made better decisions, and while the virus was unexpected, they should have prepared for the unexpected.