Tuition discount for spring quarter at Stanford Graduate School of Business

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Dear Provost Drell, Dean Levin, Dean Lowery, Dear Oyer, and Dean Hayes:

First and foremost, we want to express our deep gratitude for your clear communication and work around the clock during this time of crisis. We agree that public health is of the utmost priority and respect Stanford’s decision to make classes virtual in reaction to COVID-19.

As we have experienced in the past week, virtual classes are dramatically subpar to an in-person experience. The experience is now much more reflective of what we would receive on free online platforms that offer Stanford courses. As a comparison, HBX, Harvard Business School’s online portal, offers online courses at a 70 - 94 percent discount to its in-person MBA program. Even at the GSB, the LEAD online executive program is $15,000, while the offline version is $75,000, an 80 percent discount.

On top of a subpar classroom experience, we are now also unable to take advantage of professional and social programs, such as brown bag lunches, View from the Top, and C4C, which define the GSB experience. 

We therefore propose an 80 percent discount on spring tuition to reflect the current price differential between in-person and online programs. We understand that the Provost has stated that the University will not be issuing a discount, but we find this response unacceptable given the dramatic change in the experience, particularly for the GSB. We also consider his proposal around a leave of absence unacceptable, given that this would defer full-time employment by an additional six months, creating a significant financial burden on students.

We recognize that the costs for the university might not change drastically by going online in short order, but we believe there must be increased room in the operating budget, and what is the purpose of our multi-billion dollar endowment if not to give us room in times of such crisis? Most importantly, we agreed to enter the GSB with the promise of two full years of experiential learning and networking, and this experience has been severely compromised due to the crisis. We, as students of the GSB, believe we have the right to ask for a decreased tuition in-line with the decreased value of our experience. 

Several people in both the MBA and MSx programs have made extraordinary financial sacrifices to participate in Stanford’s in-person program, and many of us have families who are dependent on us. Furthermore, we are facing uncertain financial futures ahead in the wake of a pending economic crisis. A reduction in tuition would allow us to feel positively toward the GSB in the long-term, especially for those of us graduating this year.

As an institution that prides itself on leadership and empathy, we are calling on you to exercise both by issuing a significant tuition discount for next quarter. We are asking for a meeting between Dean Levin and the Student Association Presidents in the next three working days in which the Dean will present his proposal for a discount.

All the best,

Representatives of the MBA Class of 2020 and 2021 and MSx program of 2020