Illinois State University COVID-19: Father of ISU student wants school to give discount for online classes

The father of an Illinois State University students wants his daughter's online classes to be discounted.

The man, Brian, said if his daughter, who is starting her sophomore year at ISU, is learning from home online, then those virtual classes should be reduced.

Brian's daughter is taking five classes this fall and said they've all been changed to virtual classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said he respects every professor who feels more comfortable with remote instruction and he understands that COVID-19 has brought about many changes to the college experience.

But he said everyone is struggling and Illinois State should do what he believes is right.

"We simply feel that if the class is online, some sort of discount should be applied because it is not the same experience," Brian said. "If we attend a sporting event, we know it is going to cost us more money because we are seeing those athletes in person and we're paying for that experience and we feel that is the same with university learning, that you're paying a premium price for your son or daughter to attend a university."

The father said he feels that a 10% discount at the very least would be fair, but he said Illinois State told him that would not be possible.

An ISU spokesperson said in a statement in part, "Illinois State charges tuition and mandatory fees at the same rate regardless of the mode of instruction. These charges cover a variety of short- and long-term university expenses which continue regardless of the mode of instruction or access to campus facilities. Historically, Illinois State has not differentiated between tuition and fee charges when classes are delivered in-person versus in a remote format. This is consistent with the practice of other state universities in Illinois."

Illinois State said about 80% of classes will be presented online and students with on-campus housing and dining contracts were allowed to cancel with no financial penalty.

But Brian said he believes families should get at least some money back for online classes.

Full statement from ISU:

"The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the lives of individuals and families. It has also had a deep impact on the nation's education system at all levels from kindergarten to college. Moving classes online has been a tremendous challenge for students and faculty alike. However, that move has also helped Illinois State University and other schools continue to deliver education during a very challenging time.

"Monday, August 17 was the first day of Illinois State's fall semester classes, roughly 80 percent of which are delivered in a remote learning format.

"Illinois State understands that students and their families may have questions about the cost of college in relation to classes being delivered online.

"Illinois State charges tuition and mandatory fees at the same rate regardless of the mode of instruction. These charges cover a variety of short- and long-term university expenses which continue regardless of the mode of instruction or access to campus facilities. Historically, Illinois State has not differentiated between tuition and fee charges when classes are delivered in-person versus in a remote format. This is consistent with the practice of other state universities in Illinois.

"In many cases, faculty members must spend additional time preparing course material for online delivery, beyond the time it takes to prepare for an in-person class. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Illinois State has invested in additional technology and services to support online learning.

"The University's academic enhancement fee provides much-needed funding for technology and academic facilities. Funds are used to enhance the delivery of instruction through appropriate learning environments and supportive infrastructure, including the purchase, installation, and maintenance of software, hardware, and technology systems to support academic learning as well as construction of academic facilities.

"The Board of Trustees sets tuition, fee, and room and board rates for the University. The rates for the 2020-2021 academic year were established at its May 2020 quarterly meeting.

"For the fall 2020 semester, students with on-campus housing and dining contracts were allowed to cancel those contracts with no financial penalty up to August 18, the second day of class. This allowed students whose classes are all online, or students not comfortable living on campus, to opt out with no penalty."
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