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Why We Shouldn’t Be Paying Extra Fees For Online Classes

Ah, COVID-19the lovely virus that caused all of our classes to be online this semester, and possibly for the whole year. Online classes aren’t particularly a pain, but it’s when you find out that you’re paying fees for services you will not be using that it becomes annoying. 

This year VCU did not raise tuition, but they did raise some mandatory fees. These increases include an additional $102 towards university fees, an additional $12 towards library and technology fees and a $30 increase to the Capital Outlay Fee for out-of-state students. 

Both the Cabell library on the Monroe Park campus and the Tompkins-McCaw Library on the MCV campus are open with some restrictions in place about the number of people to be in there at one time. I personally would not want to go to the library at all this semester, especially since the bed bug outbreak last semester, and now with COVID, and who knows how thoroughly they are disinfecting workspaces. 

From these increases alone, in-state students are paying $2,616 in mandatory fees, an increase of $114, whereas out-of-state students are paying $3,306. 

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In a release about the budget, President Michael Rao said, “Our students and their families have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis; many students and their parents have lost their jobs and face tough financial situations that threaten plans to start or continue their college education.” Why then has President Rao increased mandatory fees? 

I am so lucky for the fact that my parents are in a good position financially that they can afford my education, but I definitely feel like this increase in mandatory fees is certainly disadvantageous to those who cannot afford this increase because of COVID related job losses. 

Now let us talk about unnecessary things professors have made us pay for. Now what really gets me is that immediately after it was said that all classes would be online, professors have all miraculously found pdf versions of their required textbooks. That would have been useful before instead of having to rent all my textbooks at VBC (Virginia Book Company). Also, let’s talk about TopHat. This is the separate polling/question site that professors use to ask the class questions. My question is that now that all of our classes are on Zoom, why can’t they use the free polling option on Zoom to ask us questions rather than making me buy a $41 dollar subscription to TopHat for the entire year? 

Okay, so I can’t complain that much because I haven’t done anything to talk to my professors about these options because these are my major classes, and I am scared to contest them. We are also guilty of not saying anything because we are dependent on getting our degrees.  

I feel like having classes online should mean that we do not have to pay for library fees or technology fees, solely because of the fact that we are supposed to be isolating ourselves and only going outside for mandatory purposes such as getting groceries. 


Tara is a junior HPEX health science major at Virginia Commonwealth University. She likes hanging out with friends and family, trying out new places to eat and scrolling through dog videos in her free time.
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