Coronavirus Tuition Refunds
Petition to President Kwang-Wu Kim
Spring 2020 Partial Refund for Columbia tuition during COVID closure + remote classes
As students, our lives have been upended by the Coronavirus pandemic, many having to return to other countries, relocate to other locations, find ourselves without a place to live or simply deal with the emotional and mental effects of dealing with the situation we are now in collectively. While remote classes have temporary alleviated the problem of on-hold education during lockdown, many of us are finding that classes are not the same in quality and are struggling with the complicated nature of the unique situations we are now in to maintain a level of quality in our educational experience. Some issues of complaint include: Quarantine life complications have been affecting work efficiency + learning; for example, new responsibilities like going to the grocery store during certain times for self or at-risk family/friends, life becoming overly unstructured and falling apart due to psychological and emotional health effects of quarantine, mental/emotional challenges like depression/anxiety or lack of motivation creating difficulties in spaces, etc.; Mental and emotional anxiety difficult to manage current educational demands; Health issues of friends, family or self; Sudden lack of structure and time gap away from classes creating difficulties in educational process + feeling able to complete required work without the support of the in-person education we paid to receive; Video courses from professors not used to recording lectures or doing online live lectures create challenges in students' ability to stay present with class, material and tasks; Lack of accountability and disconnection from a group learning environment create new educational challenges and issues for people who learn better in groups or in person; Attention deficit or other short attention-span learners may have difficulty staying accountable and focused on the online learning experience without the stimulation and structure of in-person lectures; Unforeseen COVID-related financial demands, unemployment, reduced or increased hours at work or other work life challenges creating difficulties in students' personal life that affect ability to perform in educational life Course material + information difficult to absorb through long pre-recorded video or online class format limiting ability to absorb information and get quality and standard of education Columbia provides in in-person setting Learning outcomes and our educational experience adversely affected due to the COVID situation In short, we believe that the quality of education we had initially paid lots of money for was not what we have received this semester due to the nature of the situation and the adaptations we've had to make as students and as teachers. While we appreciate Columbia's quick and thoughtful response to the pandemic situation and the way Columbia's education has adapted to an online format, we are petitioning to request a partial refund of tuition for the Spring Semester for March 20, 2020 to the end of Spring semester. In addition, we urge the school to consider alternative options for Fall semester that could take into account students' different learning needs and enable all students, regardless of unique learning styles, to graduate on time with the level of educational experience Columbia students are used to which can allow them to feel confident that they are ready and prepared with the learning they will need not only for the working world, but also in response to this changing world we are all in together today. We hope that Columbia can stand apart as an example and a beacon of progressive action during this time that can stand up for its values of innovation, impact, and diversity that we are all here for, during this time and beyond, by reimagining and creating new solutions that can serve all students. Thank you so much for your service and we hope that all faculty + support staff, students, teachers and parents alike are healthy and well at this time. All the best, Columbia College Chicago Students
Petition to Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Detroit School Board, Terrance Martin
CALL TO ACTION: DPSCD, Stick With Your Promise! Observe The Eid Holiday!!
CALL TO ACTION!!! Dear Detroit family, we are hoping to gain your support with our petition to have the Muslim Holidays of Eid on the Detroit School Calendar for the 2020/2021 school year. *Petition Included* The school board will be hosting a ZOOM MEETING this Tuesday, April 14th, 2020 at 5:30 pm! The Detroit School Board is set to vote to approve the school calendar for the upcoming school year tomorrow night WITHOUT the observance of Eid. After promising to observe the Holidays of Eid, DPSCD will look to approve a calendar that fails to recognize the Muslim community. Zoom Webinar Information: https://zoom.us/j/198913861 Webinar ID: 198 913 861 Telephone: 1-646-558-8656 Please tune in and show your support by commenting statements like: "This should not be voted on if Eid is not included", "Do not approve the calendar without the observance of Eid", and "Don't disregard the Muslim Community". #DPSCDOff4Eid ------- ONGOING PETITION OPEN LETTER TO THE DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS COMMUNITY DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD, SUPERINTENDENT VITTI, AND TERRENCE MARTIN OF THE DETROIT FEDERATION OF TEACHERS Dear Superintendent Vitti, School Board Members, and DFT Leadership, Last year, the school district confirmed that the recognition of Eid-ul-Fitr would be added to the school calendar. The leaders of our district emphasized everyone was committed to ensuring the Holidays of Eid is observed in the district calendar. Various media outlets covered this groundbreaking story as the District was supposed to be recognizing the Muslim Holiday for the first time in history. However, at the board meeting tomorrow, you all will gather to vote on a calendar that does not even observe the Holidays of Eid. Still today, the Muslim Student community is fighting to get recognized by the school district. Muslims are overlooked in many regards in this society, and the current public schools' holiday system is a prime example. The district has failed to understand the significance of the Holidays of Eid as they have chosen not to prioritize the observance of the Eid Holidays in the school calendar. Over the past several years, the observance of our religious tradition has been the victim of the disagreement between the school district and the teacher’s union. Who suffers? Muslim students who are still robbed of the basic right to observe our holiday. If you vote to approve a calendar without the observance of the Holidays of Eid, you are breaking your promise to the Muslim community. If you vote to approve a calendar without the observance of the Holidays of Eid, you are robbing our community of our basic dignities and rights. If you vote to approve a calendar without the observance of the Holidays of Eid, you are emphasizing that student voices do not matter regardless of the effort they make If you vote to approve a calendar without the observance of the Holidays of Eid, you are telling Muslim students and parents of our district that we do not matter. If you vote to approve a calendar without the observance of the Holidays of Eid, you are ignoring the diversity that lies within our district. If you vote to approve a calendar without the observance of the Holidays of Eid, you are expressing that Muslim students are not welcome in this school district. The Muslim community should not continue to suffer as the district continues to hold off from recognizing the Holidays of Eid year after year. We simply ask that you treat our holidays like any other holiday that's on the calendar. I hope the hard work of my peers does not go unnoticed. I hope the Muslim Community does not get disregarded. I hope we have a school district that recognizes diversity instead of simply preaching it. We urge you to stick to your promise to recognize the Detroit Public Schools Community District’s diversity by recognizing the holiday observances of our Muslim population. Sincerely, The Muslim Community and Allies
Petition to FAU President (Dr. John Kelly)
FAU Summer 2020 Tuition
When registering for classes during a normal semester at FAU, there are multiple fees that we are charged for (including transportation, labs, and eLearning). However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak and movement of in-person courses to an online format, we have been given no other option but to take our courses online for the remainder of the Spring semester and into the Summer semester. Even though we have no choice but to take these courses online, we are still being charged for transportation access, labs (Biology and Chemistry departments), and eLearning. By signing this petition, FAU students will not be required to pay hundreds of dollars in fees for transportation and labs (which will not even be available) and online learning (which will be required). Not to mention the fact that it is a graduation requirement to take a minimum of 3 summer courses. A lot of students wish to get this requirement fulfilled and check it off the list of goals for graduation. Many students work to pay for tuition, but now that the government has asked non-essential businesses to closed due to COVID-19, a lot of students are not able to work in order to pay tuition in full. I suggest a tuition price ceiling of $1,000 for the Summer semester to help students pay for tuition after suffering a lack of income due to government lockdown. In the nicest way possible, we are not willing to pay fees for things that are made unavailable to us, and we are not willing to pay fees for a different learning format that is being forced upon us with no other options. We care about our education very much, but we do not wish to waste our money with these fees. Listed below are hundreds of my classmates signatures in agreement. Kind Regards, Maycie Richardson Class of 2023
Petition to Westfield State University
Refund 50% of all fees for Spring 2020 at WSU
Westfield State University has decided to only refund 50% of housing and dining costs. Additionally, those with commuter plans are not receiving 50% back on meal plans because they are rolling dining dollars over to next semester. Students are not being compensated for any additional fees that come to living on campus such as a “general fee” for living on campus ($4,463), technology fees ($365), fitness center ($92), student activities fee ($62). These are all fees that are strictly meant for on campus living. Students should receive a full 50% refund on all fees aside from tuition in order to compensate for the spring semester switching to online. In addition, commuters should be compensated for meal plans and parking passes and the administration should consider compensation for student workers. For more information on how WSU intends to handle refunds currently visit: http://www.westfield.ma.edu/offices/student-accounts-bursar/faqs
Petition to Vermont State Senate, Vermont State House, Bernie Sanders, Patrick J. Leahy, Peter Welch, Phil Scott, Alison Clarkson, Peter D. Anthony, Selene Colburn, Barbara Rachelson, Jill Krowinski, Marcia Lawrence Gardner, Anthony Pollina, Brian Collamore, Catherine "Kitty" Toll, Christopher A Pearson, Kesha Ram, Phil Baruth, Sarah Copeland Hanzas, Tim Ashe, Becca Balint, Diana Gonzalez, Dick Sears, Jr., Jeanette K. White, John Rodgers, Sam Young, Carol Ode, Charlie Kimbell, Vermont State College Board of Trustees, Jeb Spaulding
Securing the Future of the Vermont State Colleges
As we move forward through the COVID-19 crisis we are seeing more and more businesses and communities being impacted negatively by this. The Vermont State Colleges System is no exception to this! This is the true test of the colleges within the system financially. Each of the four institutions that comprise the VSCS is key to the communities they surround and play an important role in the Vermont economy. Without them, this could cause irreversible damage to local economies within the state. Today we are asking for your support to pressure the Governor’s office as well as the State Legislature to give the State College System the financial support that it critically needs and deserves. The system is facing a deficit upwards of $8.5 Million for this year, which will have real and damaging implications. We are proposing that the state give the system enough money to compensate for the deficit and increase the yearly state appropriation from covering only 18% of the system’s cost to requesting an additional $25 million on top of the current appropriation. The system has been long plagued by state appropriation shortfalls from the state which has led the schools to struggle. Northern Vermont University-Lyndon, Northern Vermont University-Johnson, Castleton University, Vermont Tech, and Community College of Vermont employ over 1,800 people in every county across the state and provides an education to over 11,000 students, 83% of whom are Vermont residents. Reviving the VSCS is key in reviving rural Vermont and providing not only Vermonters but people from all over this country with the essential skills needed in today’s economy. Northern Vermont University alone contributes about $113 million to the economy. Downsizing even one campus will have significant and long-term impacts on the surrounding communities. A little about myself. My name is Patrick Wickstrom and I currently attend Northern Vermont University - Lyndon studying both Atmospheric and Climate Change Science. I also serve as the Financial Controller for our Student Government Association, am a Resident Assistant, captain of the Men’s Tennis Team, and a very active member of this campus and its community. My story starts at a young age when I learned I had a passion for weather and growing up in North Texas with our severe weather only grew that passion. When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I learned about a school called Lyndon State College, now Northern Vermont University, and fell in love with it. It was always my dream to attend Lyndon because of the quality of its Atmospheric Sciences Department. As it came time to apply to college, I only applied to one school, Lyndon. I could’ve applied and gone to Texas A&M, Texas Tech, University of Louisiana Monroe, but instead, I chose Lyndon. I knew that going to a smaller school far from home was the right choice for me. When I finally arrived in January of 2019, it was everything I thought it would be. I have made some of the best friends of my life, made connections with faculty and staff that I wouldn’t have elsewhere, and been given opportunities of a lifetime. I even stayed in the summer of 2019 to work at Mountainview Country Club because I fell in love with the state of Vermont so much. Going to school at NVU - Lyndon has been the best decision of my life and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. Supporting our school and the VSC helps students like me reach their goals and brings people to the great state of Vermont, which helps support its economy.
Petition to Illinois Wesleyan Administrators
Change Illinois Wesleyan Spring 2020 Courses to pass/fall option
Due to COVID-19 college students across the nation are facing unprecedented challenges as they continue their education in difficult conditions. Tuition is calculated to include the many amenities on campus whether it be the Shirk Fitness Center, Ames Library, the Writing Center, and numerous more great on-campus offerings. Many of us are facing financial difficulties and working long hours to supplement. Without the true college experience that allows us to thrive and excel in classes it would be fair to reward Illinois Wesleyan students' best academic efforts with an optional pass/fail condition during this unprecedented pandemic which continues to harm more Americans and people across the world. Please help lessen the burden and stress during this difficult time for us students to allow us to focus on family, health, and safety while continuing our higher education.
Petition to President of Fairleigh Dickinson University Christopher A. Capuano, Debra V. Jones President Chair of Board of Governors, Fairleigh Dickinson Uiniversity, Senate President Deirdre Collier, State Director at The Office of the Secretary of Higher Education Errol Bruce
TUITION CUT FOR FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON UNIVERSITY-Fall 2020
Due to COVID-19, Fairleigh Dickinson University has decided on a hybrid learning system which like many other universities involves a remote learning system in order to prevent the spread of the virus. This alternative learning style results in a shortage of our complete learning experience in the Fall of 2020 by three weeks. Although these necessary precautions will help better the health of our students and assist us on the path to recovery from this pandemic, remote learning does not substitute for our in-class learning experience along with other on-campus services. As we look into other alternatives for our education we must also take into consideration what is at loss for each student and try to accommodate these needs. It is not just for students to be forced to pay tuition at full price with the reduction of an annual 3% tuition rate when we will be losing the opportunity to utilize resources we normally would while being on campus. Freezing the tuition rate does not account for the loss of time and educational experience from the Fall semester. We should not be paying the full tuition price if not receiving all the benefits that are involved with the cost, such as computer lab access, fast speed internet connection, dining hall expenses, campus life organizations and most importantly face-to-face learning. As a student, my online learning experience in the Spring of 2020, did not nearly scratch the surface of the infinite learning opportunities that would have been granted to me as an on-campus student. We are all facing extreme financial hardships brought upon us by the pandemic. I urge you all to help change this financial decision that affects each and every one of our students at Fairleigh Dickinson University. We cannot rebuild when not given the chance to take a breath, give our students and families a break, financially, for the betterment of our overall academic success. Please sign and share this petition with your peers, families, and other public platforms to help prevent this extra burden on our lives.
Petition to Columbia University, Columbia College, Suzanne B. Goldberg, Ira Katznelson, Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, School of General Studies, Barnard
Partial Tuition Reimbursement at Columbia University
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.