Online classes takeover, but tuition stays the same

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BYU student Leah Kelson Parks continues her course work online, instead of in the classroom. (Rebekah Baker/BYU Photo)

BYU tuition has stayed the same throughout the pandemic after classes moved online in March and the school adopted a blended schedule for Fall Semester. Online classes have impacted some student’s view on tuition and many students have expressed concern about tuition during the pandemic.

“I wasn’t expecting it to be reduced. Tuition is already so inexpensive, I don’t see BYU reducing it anytime soon, even with COVID,” said BYU sophomore Busbyberkly Peterson. 

Peterson said because tuition is already so heavily subsidized, it is impractical to suggest lowering it. She also said she would feel “greedy” asking it to be lowered since she knows tuition is subsidized by Church tithing funds.

Peterson said online classes can be frustrating because people go to college wanting the normal experience. 

“Online school isn’t necessarily the experience we want to pay for. If I knew last year that it was mainly online, maybe I would have done something differently, but I also can’t justify paying less,” Peterson said.

Bethany Gold, a BYU freshman, said she has a mix of online and in-person classes, therefore she expected tuition would be the same. 

“I feel like at the moment I don’t mind paying full tuition. I have that mix of in-person and online, which is honestly more than I was expecting. And so I feel like they are justified in that sense,” Gold said. 

Gold said she wishes BYU offered more support for students whose employment was impacted by COVID. She said BYU offering more tuition help for people who were financially affected by COVID would have been helpful. 

“I feel like if you’re able to pay tuition it’s fine. But if you can’t because of the results of COVID, then I feel like they should have subsidized somehow,” Gold said.

The Daily Universe reached out to the BYU Enrollment Services and the Financial Center; however, both declined to comment on tuition for this school year. Many faculty were also hesitant to comment on tuition affecting people this year.

Justin Dyer, an Eternal Family professor, said he feels the transition to online had some drawbacks. For example, he said creating a good learning environment where students could participate was a challenge. However, he said he has found certain ways to overcome these stumbling blocks. 

“Just kind of asking if there are any questions, you know, throwing it out to the Zoom void often doesn’t work very well. So targeting a little more towards students who I know would have something to say, that they’d like to share on that particular topic certainly can be really useful,” Dyer said.

Dyer also said he feels that online classes have pushed us to use technology in a way we didn’t think of before. For example, he said that students have unlimited access to lectures, which can be very helpful. However, Dyer said there are things that will be missed from being able to connect in a classroom. 

“I just think the unique classroom experience, when you have people there, they can see each other and they can talk back and forth. It’s a much more natural thing to be able to have those kinds of really nice discussions especially about sensitive issues and family,” Dyer said.

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