Partial Tuition Reimbursement at Columbia University

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On March 12, 2020, faced with the ongoing spread of the Coronavirus in New York City and beyond, Columbia University announced their decision to move all classes to Zoom, an online video communications and conferencing tool. While we recognize and sympathize with the difficult position that the Coronavirus has put Columbia University in, this transition to online classes represents a notable reduction in educational and instructional quality, which we fear will negatively affect our educational and professional outcomes moving forward. Further, we fear that the quality of education we will be receiving will not be commensurate with costly tuition payments made in January of this year.

In addition to a reduction in educational quality, other unintended consequences of the Coronavirus, including cancelled talks on campus, networking events, and reduced face-to-face time with professors and colleagues, threaten to negatively affect our short and long-term professional outcomes. This is a particularly worrying prospect for those of us graduating in 2020, as we will likely find ourselves graduating into a recession (which, as the 2008 crisis demonstrated, can have a lifelong negative impact on earnings).

With this in mind, we call upon the University to address the reduction of educational quality that the transition to online classes represents, as well as the negative professional impacts of reduced networking opportunities and cancelled campus events, by providing students with a partial tuition reimbursement. We note that the University has a sizable endowment at their disposal and could use some of these funds to help protect their students (who themselves represent future donors) during these trying times. Thank you for your reading and sharing.