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The Facts Behind the University's Tuition Increase

By: Bianca Viana and Maria Giovanna Jumper

A very pressing issue many students across the United States and right here at Adelphi are currently facing is an increase in tuition rates. Many students are especially upset about this given the fact that they are receiving a majority of online classes this semester.

The recent pandemic has caused financial stress for both students and the university. Some students have lost their jobs or no longer have certain campus jobs available to them, like Hire a Panther. The university has had to endure extra costs for personal protective gear (PPE) and other resources. With all this being considered students are still wondering why they are paying more?

James J. Perrino, the executive vice president of finance and administration from the Office of Finance and Administration, informed students in an email sent of July 1, 2020 that they “have held the increase for undergraduates to 3.5 percent and for most graduate programs to 2.75 percent.”

When The Delphian contacted him, he reiterated that they tried to “minimize increases to the fullest extent feasible, despite the significant new and unexpected costs to support the technology, service and health and safety needs of a world-class remote learning experience and a safe return to campus.”

Although there is still an increase in tuition, Adelphi has frozen University, technology and library fees at the 2019-‘20 rates. Additionally, Perrino stated that they have also reduced the cost of housing and meal plans for fall 2020 to reflect the shortened time on campus.

President Riordan's dog and Paws the Panther

masked up for the start of the semester. Photo

credit @prezriordan

Understandably, students are upset about this slight increase given that many and their families have lost jobs due to Covid-19 and will now struggle with paying for their tuition for this upcoming year.

In the previous academic year of 2019-‘20, the average estimated cost for a resident student was between $54,880 and $61,270. With the increase this year, the average cost of a resident student based off Adelphi University’s website is $63,330, including indirect costs.

For a commuter student living with a parent, the estimated cost for the 2020-‘21 academic year is $42,500, not including indirect costs. In the 2019-‘20, academic year the cost of tuition for a commuter student was $40,980, not including indirect costs.

The listed costs in tuition do not reflect any financial aid or scholarships offered through the university, which Perrino stated is “more than $80 million in renewable institutional aid to its undergraduate and graduate students.” However, the increase in tuition is there and it is approximately $2,000 more for residents, as well as commuter students.

In an effort to help those in the Adelphi community struggling, Adelphi has offered multiple payment plans for students to enroll in as well as to help those who are struggling with the increase in tuition for this upcoming school year. According, to Perrino “the university issued more than $80,000 of emergency grants from private donations and $2 million of federal CARES emergency grants to date, to assist our students and families during this challenging time.”

In the same email, Perrino stated, “We have permitted students with outstanding balances to register for fall; we have provided additional payment plan options to allow students and parents additional time to settle their account balances; and we are waiving late fees on tuition payments through October 15, 2020.”

Many other universities across the country are also raising their tuition rates this semester, with some operating fully remote, and not offering any in-person instruction.

When Adelphi made the quick switch to remote learning in March 20202 new resources and technology were needed, like Zoom for virtual classes. Although Zoom is a free application, the university is still paying for Education Plans, which allow class times to run longer than the standard 40-minute free period. In addition, many other organizations on campus also used Zoom as a means of holding meetings.

Additionally, software such as the Respondus Lockdown Browser, which was used by many professors this past semester when administering exams for students, also has a yearly fee, that at around 8,000 students costs $4,595 annually.

Todd Wilson, the strategic communications director for University Communications, said, “There have been substantial investments in the Zoom Educational Platforms, as well as online teaching academies for faculty, course development materials for online and hybrid classes, technologies to equip the classrooms on campus for remote and hybrid learning, added laptops and software for students, faculty and staff, along with other technology supports.”

According to Perrino, the university also absorbed the cost of many other services needed to ensure the opening of campus this fall. This includes items used for preparing campus: social distancing signage, health and testing requirements and plexiglass barriers, the new technology needed to be able to hold hybrid-flex classes, and enhanced and intensified cleaning.

They have additionally claimed that they are still doing their best to offer all resources, whether it be having their Learning and Writing Center Tutors work remotely or continuing to offer at-home workout classes once offered in the CRS. Perrino reminded students that they will have access to all on-campus services, whether their classes are fully online, in person or somewhere in-between.

In an email to The Delphian, President Christine Riordan, said, “We know the pandemic has created financial challenges for many of our students and their families.” She urged students to check out the July message sent out that helps families and students understand the increase in tuition.

Yet, with many other universities having to close down after the first week of classes, many students are worried that they will be back home before they get the chance to enjoy the offered services. The university has also taken refunds off the table if the campus does get shut down.

Wilson explained that “in the event that the campus experiences an unforeseen shutdown, we are prepared to shift to remote operations, continuing a high quality educational experience for the remainder of the semester and therefore not necessitating tuition refunds.

“We would not be providing room and board refunds for circumstances such as a health pandemic, which falls beyond the University’s control; however, we have reduced housing and meal plan costs to reflect the shortened scheduled time on campus,” he continued.

Mackenzie Banks, a senior political science major, said, “At first glance the tuition increase made me angry. Our resources are being limited, for most students in-person instruction no longer exists, and it feels as though the quality of our education has been compromised. However, after being on campus for the last three weeks, I understand the sacrifice of an increased tuition bill. With the new health and safety measures, which I believe Adelphi is doing well with, the university has truly taken precautions to ensure the safety of the students living on campus.”

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