Online Learning For USU Students May Cost More

Aug 18, 2020, 8:14 PM | Updated: 8:16 pm

LOGAN, Utah – Universities across Utah announced they are reducing student fees for the upcoming semester, saving the average student around $150. However, officials with Utah State University said they will have to pass costs for recent investments in online learning improvements to their students this fall.

Computer technology is making it possible for classrooms to be online and in-person at the same time, something that some students hoped could make the school safer from the coronavirus.

“For me, it doesn’t matter one way or another, but I was trying to be thoughtful and considerate of others,” said student Jaren Carlson.

He said he decided to stay home early to do his part in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Now, he found out it’s going to cost him up to $180 more than it would to attend class in-person.

USU student Jaren Carlson

“I just thought it was pretty inappropriate, given the circumstances where people are encouraged to stay home to have this situation where someone is penalized for staying home,” he said.

However, teaching online is costing the university even bigger bucks.

“We’re a leader in technology and education online and we were already considering implementing a fee increase,” said USU spokesperson Tim Vitale. “Then, when the pandemic hit, our costs just skyrocketed.”

Vitale said the university had already invested in being at the forefront of online learning. Those costs are way up, now that more classrooms need technology and staff members need laptops and other expensive items. 

USU spokesperson Tim Vitale.

“What students have to recognize is that going online is not saving us money. The increased costs to go online have been significant,” Vitale said. “The technology that we need to provide to professors who are now working from home, who were office-based here — all of a sudden, they need a laptop or they’re working from home, and something as simple as needing headphones.”

Carlson said he appreciated that USU was taking a proactive approach to COVID-19.

“Let’s take it a step further and let’s not put people in a situation where they are at-risk,” he said.

Those increased fees affect about 20% of the courses at USU. They went online before COVID-19.

However, not all college cost news is bad. On Tuesday, Utah’s six public universities announced a cut in student fees.

Those lower fees will save students about $150.

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Online Learning For USU Students May Cost More