Adjust UCLA tuition for online learning

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The students, faculty, family, and friends of the UCLA community demand that tuition is lowered in light of the school’s transition to online learning. 

It is unfair and unjust to require the same price of attendance when the university is not fully operational. Students must grapple with obstructions to their quality of learning, including but not limited to the cancellation of laboratories, technologically unskilled professors, unmet requirements for disabilities, inadequate food and shelter for those not provided with housing, a lack of technological resources, and the absence of internet access. Many students are grappling with a further destabilized learning environment in the midst of a global pandemic as well as the Trump administration's xenophobic policies that directly affect students of UCLA. Most notable, UCLA students committed to this school for its campus community and educational opportunities. UCLA has consistently ranked the #1 public university based on factors including "student resources, student engagement, educational outcomes and learning environments" according to the Wall Street Journal. Given online learning and social distancing policies, UCLA is simply not the dream school that it was before this pandemic. We have been stripped of what makes UCLA what it is, and therefore should not have to pay for an experience that is not granted to us. 

According to the UC Office of the President’s budget analysis webpage, tuition price includes “costs related to general campus and health sciences faculty and instructional support; libraries and other academic support; student services; institutional support; and operation and maintenance of plant.” It has been made clear that many general campus facilities, academic laboratories, and other student services will not be operational for maintenance and in-person use. 

According to Regents Policy 3101: The University of California Student Tuition and Fee Policy, found on the UC President’s website, the President must consider several factors in deciding tuition cost including:

  1. “The resources necessary to maintain access under the Master Plan, to sustain academic quality, and to achieve the University's overall mission…” Given the transition to a learning style in which the vast majority of classes are online, it is undeniable that academic quality has decreased for students. The professors at UCLA have credentials based on in-person instruction and do not have enough experience in an online setting to warrant such a high tuition price. Not all students are equipped with capable laptops or even Internet access. Many students and faculty alike shared a decrease in satisfaction with their courses during spring quarter. Testing must be adjusted and therefore home assessments raise the concern of increased cheating. UCLA also reports a high undergraduate international population of 12%, of which many will have to attend class at disadvantageous times if taking courses in other countries. 
  2. “The full cost of attending the University, including the cost of housing, food, healthcare, books and supplies, transportation, and other academic and personal expenses…” For those who will not be offered a housing contract this fall, these students might have to grapple with housing and basic living costs for the first time and in a very unstable economy. Healthcare prices are expected to surge for the thousands of students at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 during this pandemic. Many personal expenses are expected to rise in order to combat or live with the constant risks of the pandemic.
  3. “The amount of support available from various sources to assist needy students in funding the full cost of their education…” According to the school website, 55% of students rely on financial aid. Many of these students as well as those who exceed the FAFSA cutoff rely on additional income to fund their schooling. At this time, there is a financial strain on the students and supporting family members whose jobs have not reopened as well as those who cannot work due to being immunocompromised or otherwise concerned about the deadly virus. 
  4. “The full cost of attendance at comparable public institutions.” According to the tuition breakdown published on the UCLA website, total in-state tuition for a 4-year program comes out to about $64,725. However, according to an article published this year on U.S. News & World Report titled “What You'll Pay for an Online Bachelor's Degree”, the average cost of a bachelor’s degree at a public online institution only costs $38,496. This is a $26,229 difference from our expected in-state tuition

We demand that these factors be taken into consideration in order to lower the general tuition price. Likewise, nonresident tuition should decrease. According to the Office of the President, supplemental tuition is “in lieu of State support for the cost of education.” Due to the aforementioned reasons, the cost of education should no longer be as expensive; therefore, as much supplemental support is not necessary. Additionally, looking at the tuition breakdown posted on the registrar’s office website, there are several quarterly fees that will be rendered obsolete and available for alteration:

  • The Student Services Fee is listed as a fee that relates to “social and cultural activities and programs” as well as “services related to campus life and the campus community.” This fee can be cut given that the typical community activities that happen in the fall and winter, such as the Move-In Fair or public sports games, will likely be canceled. We urge you to hear our demands for this fee. According to the Board of Regents, “the Chancellor or his/her designee annually shall solicit and actively consider student recommendations, with the intent of honoring as much as possible student recommendations on the following: the use of Student Services Fee revenue; and the annual Student Services Fee to be set by the Regents.”
  • The Ackerman Student Union Fee can be reduced on the basis of unused resources from the ASUCLA, such as the UCLA restaurants and event services.
  • The Bruin Bash Fee should be eliminated given the inability for this event to take place. 
  • The Student Programs, Activities, and Resources Complex (SPARC) Fee can be eliminated given that its purpose in expanding the gymnasium and Wooden Rec Center is irrelevant considering that neither of these locations can be used. 
  • The Undergraduate Students Association Fee can be reduced due to its primary purpose “for programming such as community service, films, cultural events, and concerts”, which will not be possible to fund at this time. 
  • The Wooden Center Fee should be eliminated given the inability for this resource to be taken advantage of. 

Please consider adjusting tuition prices to accommodate for these changes to both student learning and the UCLA experience. UCLA, what was once a beacon of opportunity for students of all walks of life, is now becoming a misuse of savings at this time. Show your students that you care more about our welfare than your function as a business. On the financial aid website, you boast "We are committed to making a UCLA education attainable and affordable for our students." Without proof of this claim, many of your students will be forced to drain our vital earnings or drop out during this dangerous and tumultuous time.

Thank you in advance for your compassion and understanding.