Letter to the editor: unexpected online classes must entail re-evaluation of fees

By Austin S. MacDonald, Contributor

Letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Easterner, its staff or Eastern Washington University. This letter has not been edited except for AP style.

Dear Editor of The Easterner,

As the corona virus has forced all college instruction online, the tuition bill remains the same.

According to The Easterner, “Students at EWU should expect large-scale changes to virtually every part of campus life in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. They should not, however, expect many changes to tuition and fees.” (Hutchinson 3/22/20).

This is a big problem!

Although every aspect of the EWU experience has changed, and services provided by the university are now inaccessible, students are still required to cough up the cash. Students nationwide are frustrated with the switch to online and what many “perceive as subpar educational instruction” (Kerr 4/22/20). Not only has the quality of education been greatly diminished, but students are still required to pay the fees for on campus technology, the URC and transportation, every one of which remains unused by the student body during the statewide stay-at-home order. This is affecting every EWU student at a time when money is especially tight and all student employees have been fired!

I believe the blame falls on the leaders of the university and their decision to shrug off the requests for lower fees by stating it is impossible and illegal to lower or lessen these fees. This pandemic caught everyone by surprise, and it has affected students greater than school administrators realize. The administration should implement at least some sort of change in order to lessen the financial blow felt by the collective student body. The solution that would best help the burden felt by students would be to cut these added fees in half.

Courses of action such as removing or lowering the URC, technology and PUB fees would be gladly welcomed by all students alike. Positive outcomes of slashing these tacked on costs of attendance in half include the university still having funds to continue to maintain the universities facilities and technology, while reducing the financial load on students. As far as consequences of enacting this change, the university will have decreased revenue, and consequently might not be able to continue to maintain the campus to their current standards. I understand that the university still requires revenue streams during this pandemic, but the underlying fact is that EWU will not go bankrupt if they cut fees for student services in half.


Austin S. MacDonald

In response to: EWU Students Should Expect Minimum Changes to Tuition and Fees

By Aaron Hutchinson (3/22/20)