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Published April 13, 2024

Letter to the Editor: Online education is not as valuable as in-person teaching. Tuition should reflect that

Image by Morgan La Casse

In consideration of the reduced value of remote learning and new financial hardships caused by this pandemic, the University of Minnesota must significantly reduce tuition for the coming term.

The Gophers are dealing with a public health crisis: some degree of remote education is necessary for the safety of students, faculty and staff. However, if you ask any student who participated in online classes last semester, they will tell you that the quality of learning is not the same. The University’s administration deserves credit for managing the logistical nightmare of re-opening a school with a combined student-staff population rivaling the city of Duluth, but they cannot continue to pretend that remote learning does not inevitably reduce value for students. This reduction is hard to put a dollar-value on, but it is certainly more than a trifling partial activities and housing refund. Students and our professors continue to adapt to online learning, but it’s undeniable that something is lost in transmission.  

Expecting students to pay the same credit cost for classes where we cannot see our professors in-person is almost insulting. I am proud to tell people that I attend the University of Minnesota Law School, but incredible faculty and strong rankings do not change the fact that it is very expensive. While the inflation-adjusted salaries of most lawyers — and the faculty who teach them — have not raised dramatically since the 1990s, the real cost of tuition has nearly tripled.  This discrepancy is made even more absurd by remote learning.

Overhead costs may have not gone down over the past year, but the value we are receiving as students has. The University’s Board of Regents must allocate funds to reduce the cost of tuition to students and take a hard look at administrative expenses for the years to come.

This letter was written by Samuel Meshbesher, a J.D. Candidate at the University of Minnesota Law School.

This letter to the editor has been lightly edited for style and clarity.

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