Discount Spring Term Tuition at Dartmouth College

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Rena King
Rena King signed this petition

Due to the public health threat of Covid-19, officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, Dartmouth College has moved to hold spring term classes in an online format. Colleges and universities around the nation have also taken this unprecedented action to curb the spread of this disease. While the action itself is undoubtedly the most logical and safest one, the College needs to address the concerns and difficulties that many current students and alumni have and will have. 

In a recent article written by The Dartmouth, provost Joseph Helble “said that students will pay full tuition, as “‘the faculty will be paid to do the workload of teaching a full course.’”. We, the undersigned, find this decision troubling. Dartmouth’s tuition per year is $55,605, which for this spring term, will itself come out to be $18,535. While this sticker price is high and expensive, Dartmouth students usually get access to a wide range of benefits on campus. However, this spring term, students will be unable to access the full extent of resources that make that price justifiable.

The list is long, but among other things:

Students will lose out on the peer-to-peer interaction that facilitates effective learning.

Students will lose the ability to participate in office hours, and due to timezones and other logistical issues, will not have the same access to faculty that we would normally have on campus.

Students will have to navigate potentially unstable and unequal home situations while still taking a full course-load.

There is already indication that the full range of courses that were expected to be offered will not be, harming many students’ plans and restricting our choices.

Students will not be able to access common spaces, and due to the lack of inhabitants, these spaces will need less maintenance and upkeep anyways.

Students will lose out on tutors, accessibility support, and campus resources such as librarians, computers, and book rentals, which are normally included in tuition prices.

There is no guarantee that the faculty, many of which don’t like to use online distributive learning platforms, will be able to deliver the same quality of education that we expect and are expected to pay for.

Dartmouth College is already expected to give refunds for room and board fees, as well as for meal plans. However, with these gaping holes and disadvantages in the spring term curriculum, there is no justification for the administration to be charging the full price. If we are to receive less than we pay for, Dartmouth needs to discount tuition.

Students, alumni, and future students and alumni are watching. Dartmouth needs to prove they care about the wellbeing and quality of our education if it hopes to remain a school renowned for its focus on undergraduate education. With a nearly 6 billion dollar endowment, we can and should expect Dartmouth to make the equitable, rational, and just decision to discount spring term tuition.

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