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Coronavirus: Ontario students frustrated by full tuition fees for online classes

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WATCH ABOVE: With the start of school two weeks away, there is growing demand from post-secondary students in Ontario to lower tuition fees. Many don’t believe keeping the fees the same is reflective of the switch to predominantly online courses due to the coronavirus pandemic. Miranda Anthistle explains. – Aug 25, 2020

With just two weeks until the start of school, there’s a growing demand for tuition fees in Ontario to be lowered.

Many post-secondary schools in the province aren’t reducing the cost of courses despite the coronavirus pandemic, and this is leading to frustration for students.

“It’s ridiculous, everyone’s upset about it,” said Monaym Rashad, who’s going into her second year of media studies at Ryerson University.

“We don’t want to pay for a class that’s just going to be a virtual lecture.”

Rashad is part of the increasing number of students who believe their tuition fees aren’t reflective of the change in how their courses will now be delivered predominantly online.

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On Ryerson’s website, it explains that remote learning doesn’t cost less because it’s the same amount of staff and additional resources are required to support the technological needs. But students argued that they shouldn’t be paying the same for receiving what they believe is less.

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“We don’t have access to all the resources like the gym, there’s club fees, or bus passes. All of those things we don’t have access to, so why are we paying into that?” said Jasmine Doobay-Joseph, who organized a Change.org petition to have tuition fees lowered at every post-secondary institution in Ontario.

Read more: University tuitions on the rise despite move to online courses amid COVID-19

The Ministry of Colleges and Universities issued a statement saying officials believe students will have more predictability this year based on a two-year tuition fee framework implemented back in 2019.

“Students at every publicly-assisted college and university saw their tuition rates reduced by 10 per cent,” the statement said.

“For the upcoming academic year (2020-21), tuition fees will remain frozen at 2019-20 levels.”

Read more: Tuition hikes amid coronavirus pandemic unacceptable, student groups say

But COVID-19 also put a halt to summer jobs for many students, leaving them struggling to pay full tuition fees this fall.

“If there was less tuition for virtual classes, it would help us save money for when things do get back to normal.”

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In the meantime, students like Rashad said they are now bracing for “new normal” as the fall semester fast approaches.