A global crisis may have closed our campus, but The Triangle believes that communication and awareness are essential to making it through this maddening isolation, so here we are. We’re all working remotely to continue producing relevant content. Perhaps typing away on our keyboards staves away the cabin-fever, or maybe we’re just doing it out of sheer boredom at this point. Either way, The Triangle is here.
Amidst the pandemic, the economic downturn is going to continue dramatically affecting students worldwide. In the past few weeks, the world has been tugging at the empty pockets of college students. Following a mass displacement of campus residents, schools set-up online classes and taped-off facilities. Students left their part-time jobs and/or work studies and hunkered down into isolation with zero income.
Adding to the stress of online classes, there is also the potential for being stuck in unsafe environments or uncertainty surrounding housing as well as the myriad of other issues that students are facing right now, which are largely being neglected. The government’s $1200 single check stimulus package won’t help college students who are still claimed as dependents on taxes by their parents, as they are not eligible to receive it. In theory this makes sense — why give money to those who are already supported — but being claimed as a dependent doesn’t mean you or your family can afford your education, housing and everything else without your own supplemental income.
Financial strain is certainly nothing new to students, but this marks an unprecedented low point worldwide. Students expected to graduate at the end of the term face a destroyed job market with the highest student debt rates in the nation’s history stacked against them. All currently enrolled students are being forced to question the value of their degrees and the worth of online education.
Especially considering the steep price that students already pay to attend Drexel University, many students feel that without the campus and its onsite amenities and offerings, how much of their money actually goes to an education when everything is taken away?
Dissatisfaction with Drexel’s refund policy has resulted in a class-action lawsuit from a student. The class claims that online education is fundamentally different (separating students from the facilities, programs, clubs, art, etc) and is overall less effective than face-to-face education. Perhaps this case holds water, but does it take into account the efforts of the well-meaning faculty and administration?
Their official statement in response to the suit reads, “the University remains committed to providing students with a challenging and engaging academic — and social — experience.” In light of this, Drexel has begun offering counselling sessions and recreation center classes virtually, and many other events such as time with their therapy dogs. They have implemented an optional pass-fail system as well to accommodate students in need of academic assistance due to the strain enforced by the pandemic.
Bottom line, the COVID-19 pandemic was unforeseen, and Drexel, along with other institutions, is rolling with the punches. It’s apparent that none of this is ideal, but safety clearly takes top priority over all else. Furthermore, the necessity of a change in tuition price remains to be seen. Bold statements in the lawsuit might be overlooking the financial consequences that a mass refund would have on the university.
Since the university has not commented further on the litigation, this is what we have to go on. This global crisis has revealed paper-thin emergency plans and moving forward, we hope to see new policies in place for these sorts of events. We hope Drexel formulates a plan for the future that looks out for the value of our degrees and our quality of life as students.