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Students frustrated that college tuition remains unchanged despite most classes moving online

HOUSTON – With the coronavirus pandemic causing colleges and universities around the country, and in Texas, to move online in the Fall 2020 semester, students and parents are now seeing virtually no change in tuition expenses.

“They care more about the money than the students,” said Alan, a student at the University of Houston student. He asked KPRC 2 to conceal his identity so he could speak freely.

Alan, like many students and parents, is frustrated over unchanged tuition costs despite the move to online learning.

Campus life will be dramatically different for the foreseeable future with only 20% of classes offered in-person with modifications.

“I don’t understand why we are paying the same amount of fees when we are learning from home and we are not on campus and utilizing all the resources there,” Alan said.

KPRC 2 reached out to several universities in the Houston area and across the state for analysis.

  • The University of Texas at Austin said the cost will be the same for in-person or virtual classes.
  • Rice University provided KPRC 2 with a release from March that announced tuition has actually been increased for the new academic year.
  • Meanwhile, information from UH shows only a $3 difference between tuition costs for online and in-person classes. However, fees for in-person classes include $244 for access to the University Center and Recreation and Wellness facilities. The opening of those facilities is uncertain.
  • Texas A&M University says there will be no change in tuition for this year.

“They sent an email saying those facilities plan to be open in the fall,” Alan said.

There is another significant issue brewing for students and parents.

“The other area is housing,” said Kennedy Hodges, a senior at Texas Southern University.

Hodges says she is locked into an off-campus lease during a time when the school is opting for virtual learning. Hodges says remote learning from her family’s home in Arlington is not an option if she is unable to break her lease.

“While the schools are going virtual we are stuck in these apartment leases for a full year and they are refusing to let us out unless we find somebody to take over the lease, but there is nobody who is coming back,” she said.