Higher Ed Costs/Experience in US

Having watched this play out in MA universities, I have little sympathy for college students. Lots of at risk staff members are being forced to come into campus and put their lives in danger while students ignore social distancing guidelines and continue to chafe at and flout contact tracing and quarantine efforts. There was immense pressure to open college campuses up because people wanted to withhold tuition unless their kid was getting the “college experience.” Yes, higher ed pricing is crap and absurd but was it really the smartest or even morally clear sighted thing for parents at private unis to start demanding business as usual during a pandemic?

Meanwhile, towns are getting up in arms because a bunch of out of state teenagers are jacking up the infection rates in their local areas and demanding colleges get their shit together in controlling the student population.

It is a mess.


I mean, even in actual quarantine in new zealand, they are allowed outside for exercise via a controlled system where they are told when their “slot” is.

The UK students were still allowed out for exercise.

Maybe this is my bias as someone who needs exercise for mental health. I’ve been exercising in my apartment, but I have more room on my living room floor than the total size of most dorm rooms.


My alma mater made the choice to re-open last August with outdoor classes so they could justify their 50K a year tuition*. :-/ I think it goes both ways. Students didn’t want the exposure, staff didn’t either, but the university couldn’t justify their unique selling points of a small intimate school with zoom class.

*Also because their budget gets balanced by full-fee paying foreign students who needed to be able to actually come into the US


I just have a hard time believing that people really are using their tuition to pay for those unique selling points. I still had to pay dorm fees to live on campus. I think tuition is a lot about the professors, network, name brand of the school, yeah? And yes it should be less money and structured different to the benefit of professors instead of like a business, but I think that’s a different issue?

And if students didn’t want the exposure… They could opt in to virtual classes. Which many did! So it’s been this weird hybrid crapshoot that put everyone at risk and caused major strife. I dunno.

I’m not being super clear. Maybe I just hate the youth.

Get off my lawn!!!

Not every school had that option. My alma mater did not for every class, and often classes required for a major are only offered once every other year, and you would not be able to graduate on time if you didn’t attend.

I 100% was paying (not for living on campus that was not a selling point I wanted because I was a grown ass woman with cheap rent already) for the type of intimate, 5-6 person classes that are mostly about debate and discussion and other on-campus aspects of the schooling I went to, which would be difficult to recreate without being in person. I went to a large university in Germany, where school was functionally free, and it did not include those aspects but was a perfectly fine education and I appreciated that is why it was much more affordable. No gyms or sports team, no 24 hour library, no dorms, no “french club” etc. But great education.

Foreign students are often going to US schools as a way to live in the US.

The reason I put off applying to grad school in the UK for fall of 2021 is that

  1. I want to live in London and was concern that if classes went remote, I couldn’t get a visa to go
  2. it is a graduate program that requires a lot of in-person reporting, in-studio work and filming, and would not by replicated by doing it remotely and I definitely don’t want to pay $25,000 out of my own pocket for that.

I mean, I think college students were being a mess, but I also think the adults in charge are even messier.

One youtuber I follow is going to harvard remotely from the UK because this was the last year of her masters program being offered - she really did not want to pay full-fee to NOT live in boston and have to stay up until midnight to go to her classes. But they offered more aid to get her to agree.


I wish they had, instead of insisting on in person. It would have been safer for everyone.

On that I totally agree :joy:

Foreign students and small grad cohorts are for sure a different ball game. I mean other countries handled the pandemic better… Them visiting us doesn’t seem to be the problem.

My ire was predominantly with undergrad population, especially those from states who didn’t take any of this shit seriously.


They did that because they need foreign students that pay full-fees to balance the budget, and the Trump administration said they (initially) would not grant visas to students that were not attending in-person classes. So the issues came from the top.

But the issue is that US college budgets rely on foreign students, but you need to offer certain things to be attractive to said students, and logistically you need to offer things like dorms often.

I think this ire is related to the fact that US/UK colleges market themselves as an experience, something for the “whole person” - but the way they’re conducting themselves with lockdowns and monitoring students remotely, etc, is not recognizing the wholeness of students.

Most undergrads in the US actually also use foreign students to balance the budget. College is a business in the US.


A post was merged into an existing topic: Covid-19 discussion

Can you tell me more about this? My university had a very small foreign student component and so my experience is clouding my understanding of it all; I have a lot to learn!

I assumed that most universities in US were composed of domestic students, but am clearly missing a part of the picture.

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Foreign students pay full price. Most domestic students do not.

I work in assessment, and cheating on tests can be an issue homeland security gets involved in. Because it can be a way to falsify your ability to get into the US. Though most students aren’t doing it for nefarious purposes (as far as attacking our country), just academically nefarious ones, because it is very competitive. I’ve been at conferences where agents have told stories with glee of catching people trying to cheat on tests to be able to get a visa. The ways they cheat is absolutely fascinating. Not something I’m privy to at work, so the conference presentation was cool.


Ah, I went to a private university. Hence the confusion. All my peers were paying a shit ton of cash :grimacing::grimacing::grimacing:

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Were scholarships available? Merit based or needs based? Likely, those scholarships are not available to international students. (But the international student pool is still smaller at private schools because the cost is higher still than at public universities.)


I went to a private university, too (and took an economics class specifically on the economics of my small liberal arts college). It’s the same for private universities. If you need to balance the budget, you up the percentage of foreign students you accept. I also went to a small school that agreed to meet 100% of your financial need above your estimated family contribution (EFC) as a US student, which is why I went there. I got full aid after my $2,000 EFC for a $50,000 a year school. Most of that came from my school, since US federal pell grants top out at $5,500.

DID YOU KNOW THAT ICE SET UP A FAKE UNIVERSITY? this enrages me so deeply.


Even at private unis – lots of domestic students get scholarships, need-based aid, etc from the uni. International students pay it all. They also often literally just pay more – full sticker for an international student is different from full sticker for a domestic student.


Yea, the sticker price as an int’l student in the UK is double the sticker price for the UK studnets, and I don’t qualify for aid. Still half the price of US though :joy:

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That I hadn’t heard of.
That’s insane.

The case I heard were dealing with people trying to run a scam to get into the country. Not entrapment of those here.


I believe it re: financial cost and payment structure for foreign students, so thanks for that info! I guess I’m blinded my alma mater whose got a lower rate of foreign students. And my MA school is a big one for the area. Most of my contacts there said our specific reopening scenarios were related to a lot of pressure from domestic parents, often legacy alumni, who wanted the full experience for their kids. :roll_eyes:

There’s also deep bias on my part for 2 reasons: 1) as a resident, because higher positivity rates have that cascading effect of closing down local schools and I do think younger kids need in person classes more (and so do their parents) and 2) this is petty, but Amherst is a major party school so I wouldn’t be shocked if their administration has been struggling to control this the entire time because of the student pop.


I think it all would’ve been a lot better if perhaps they would’ve…I dunno CUT TUITION COSTS!? I know it was hard to balance the budget, but seriously, online college in your sweats is not the same as a new england ivy covered campus with sports and dining hall and in-person networking and professor contact.

There’s a reason taking a MOOC course is not the same cost of a year of tuition as Wellesley. So, act like a business that just had to massively downgrade its main offering. Oh wait…you can’t.


My university didn’t charge the fees for rec center or sports passes that they normally due, pursuant to those opportunities not being available.

The cost of my online classes have always been the same as the cost of my inperson ones. I’ve done both in the course of my degree. (Admittedly, it’s a grad degree, but I have the same opportunities to participate in things as the undergrads do.) These classes are also NOTHING like a MOOC.


What is a MOOC?