Tuition and Class Expenses during the Pandemic

posted in: Opinion | 0

Almost every student has had a core curriculum class where they had to pay over $100 for a textbook they’d only use for one semester. Sometimes students can find these textbooks online for free or rent them for a cheaper price. However, some classes require key codes to specific websites where the textbook, homework, and quizzes are located. I find myself agonizing over these purchases since we can’t sell these codes back or share them with our friends who take the same class. I also wonder why professors don’t use more affordable or free websites. 

Last spring semester, I had a class where I needed to get an access code and I ended up paying full price for it. I came to class the first day to learn that there was a more affordable option on a site other than Pacific’s bookstore. 

This spring semester, I had to buy an access code for $153. $153 is a lot of money, especially during a pandemic. I could be using that money for medical bills, therapy bills, gas, groceries, or even for my tuition. The fall semester class had received their access codes and books for free because of the pandemic. I was told that this was no longer available and that I would need to buy the access code from Pacific. Turns out, the class registration link gave us access to both the site and book for free. I was able to refund the access code since I hadn’t used it yet, though full refunds were only allowed through February 4th. 

I’m lucky enough to have the money to afford an expensive textbook, but there are plenty of students who are already deep in debt, who lost their jobs during the pandemic, who are struggling to support themselves and don’t have the money for textbooks. My number-one piece of advice is to always check for cheaper options online or to wait until the class starts to purchase a textbook.

I’m so confused as to why discounts or free textbooks are no longer offered to students as if the pandemic no longer affects us. Pacific faculty should be working harder than ever to make classes more affordable to students.  

Let’s talk about tuition. The tuition price continues to rise year after year. This year is no different, even with a drop in the quality of education we receive. Not living on campus and being a remote student has inevitably saved me money and means I won’t be accruing any more debt, but it’s still expensive. Why am I still paying $24,000 this semester for Zoom classes? No one can argue against the fact that having a class via Zoom is a huge drop in quality from being in-person. 

Pacific may offer emergency grants to students because of the pandemic, but it’s not nearly enough to make a dent in tuition expenses. I don’t understand why I have to pay for a student support fee, a technology fee, or a student government/activity fee. Why the fuck am I paying a technology fee? I don’t even live on campus and I have to pay $219 for whatever that is. What “student activity” am I engaging in, as an off-campus student, that costs me $140? Don’t even get me started on the student support fee that partially goes towards the single counselor Pacific hired for online students (who didn’t even show up until the end of last semester).

I wish Pacific would give us a break and realize that most of us are still struggling financially and that the pandemic is still very prevalent in our lives. But, the truth is, Pacific will continue to nickel and dime students wherever they can, even during a time where most of the world is struggling to survive. — Grace Alexandria


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