Jul 25, 2020 - Economy & Business

Higher ed faces pressure from students to cut tuition

The campus of Georgetown University in May.
The campus of Georgetown University in May. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. universities and colleges are facing pressure from students to lower tuition rates amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Financial Times reports.

Why it matters: Some students argue that they should pay less if schools are only offering online classes, while many institutions are bracing for the pandemic's impact on their budgets.

Driving the news: Georgetown University announced this week that it will offer a 10% tuition discount to students who are not invited to live on campus, the Washington Post reports.

  • The university announced the discount after roughly 2,000 students signed a petition accusing the school of “ highway robbery” for maintaining its tuition fees at nearly $58,000.

Princeton University and Williams College in Massachusetts also issued tuition cuts, while other institutions, like Harvard University and Yale University, raised tuition for the upcoming academic year.

By the numbers: More than 90% of college students said they believe they should pay reduced tuition fees if schools are exclusively offering online classes, according to a College Pulse survey of 5,000 full-time undergraduate students across 215 universities.

  • 73% said online learning is less effective than in-person instruction to help students develop specific skills.

The big picture: Because of the pandemic, universities may see a drop in revenues from decreased enrollment, which could put many institutions over the edge, Axios' Erica Pandey reports.

  • Schools are also facing pressure from the Trump administration to fully reopen this fall.
  • On Friday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that new international students may not enter the U.S. this fall if their courses are entirely online.
  • Many universities rely on tuition from international students, and the directive could dissuade some foreign students from enrolling this coming semester.
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