Student bills in a pandemic : how fair is it to pay the same price as in person ?
For almost a year now, university students (and many college students) have found themselves taking their education online. In addition to adapting to digital education, the student community has had to face new social and economic challenges created by the pandemic. Online, many petitions can be found demanding a reduction or reimbursement of certain fees on student bills.
According to Jade Marcil, president of the Quebec student Union, this situation has significantly increased the precariousness in which students find themselves, both from a psychological and financial point of view. Indeed, according to the survey "Sous ta façade" of the Quebec Student Union, isolation, financial insecurity (loss of student jobs, fewer jobs available) and uncertainty have significant negative impacts. on the psychological health of this community.
As for the costs of the student bill, Jade Marcil finds it important to distinguish tuition fees (course fees) from other fees related to university life. According to her, “the $86 per university credit, it is nonsense to reduce its value [because we should not] devalue all the courses, because there are certain courses that are not of quality.” She explains that “what we hear a lot from students is that the services are not the same, I don't have access to as much support, I can't go on campus, in sports facilities. It is really these fees that are individual at each university that students are tired of paying if services are not accessible. " For example, the Université de Sherbrooke offered returns, after the institution "recognized that it is not true that it offers 100% the same service with the pandemic, and [...] recognized that its students deserve a financial return.”
Although she acknowledges that many universities have improved and expanded their emergency funds (in part due to government contributions), the president of the Quebec Student Union insists that institutions must be flexible, transparent and recognize the effects of the pandemic on the student community.