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College students protest on-campus fees while learning at home

Millions studying from home this year
Posted at 10:58 AM, Oct 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-19 14:28:54-04

College is very different this year for many students: They are taking many, if not all, of their classes online.

Now a growing number are asking why they have to pay campus fees.

Bonnie Greco's daughter was looking forward to her freshman year at the University of Tennessee.

But instead of living in a college dorm, her mother says,"she's doing her online classes from home," in the neighborhood she grew up in, in Butler County, Ohio.

But her mother says they've been forced to pay campus fees as if she were on the Knoxville campus.

"We've got a facility fee that's come up; there is a transportation fee for campus busing," she said.

In all it totals several hundred dollars.

"She has never been on campus," her mother said. "We visited campus a year ago, I want to say, and that has been it."

More and more parents have the same complaint right now.

In August, parent David Utz complained that his college student son -- a freshman at northern Kentucky University -- was charged campus fees while learning at home.

"This year they are charging him a mandatory recreation fee, and $150 for a parking pass," he said.

Schools hit with lawsuits

Some parents are hiring lawyers.

Boston College, Middlebury College, and the University of San Diego are among a number of schools facing lawsuits over remote-learning charges.

A few colleges are cutting fees:

  • The University of Cincinnati has announced a 15% discount in campus life fees.
  • Miami University did not charge campus fees the six weeks school was delayed.

But most schools are not discounting fees.

A University of Tennessee spokeswoman told us it is "keeping the fee structure to support new investments needed due to the pandemic, offset cost increases, and keep charges lower for all students."

Many colleges are struggling financially due to the pandemic and say cutting tuition or fees will hurt them even more.

But parents like Bonnie Greco and David Utz are not satisfied with that explanation, watching their children attend college from their bedroom in Mom and Dad's home.

"Basically, their answer is these are the fees and that is what every student pays," she said.

As always, don't waste your money.

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8:47 PM, Oct 17, 2018

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