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OSU students raise questions about remote learning in fall

With 90 percent of Oregon State University's courses to be held remotely this fall due to the pandemic, some students are wondering about how this will impact the quality of their education and if their tuition rates should be lowered.

Posted: Aug 12, 2020 6:13 PM
Updated: Aug 12, 2020 6:13 PM

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- With 90 percent of Oregon State University's courses to be held remotely this fall due to the pandemic, some students are wondering about how this will impact the quality of their education and if their tuition rates should be lowered.

According to officials, the other 10% of courses -- including those for graduate students and undergraduate engineering students -- involve hands-on lab elements and will be held in-person.

Some students told KEZI 9 News that their ability to learn is negatively impacted by virtual learning environments. Others are concerned that they are losing other crucial college experiences.

"One of the most important things in in-person classes is communicating with native students," said sophomore Koh Motonaga. "Personally, I'm an international student so for me, it's a great opportunity to speak to native students."

RELATED: OSU AIMS FOR FLEXIBILITY IN PLAN FOR FALL TERM

Senior Connor Bates is not involved with any lab classes and worries about the lack of on-campus experiences and thinks tuition should be reduced.

"Since I'm not going to get to enjoy that experience on campus that I pretty much came here for, for the most part, it should definitely be something where accommodations are made, if not a straight-up discount for online school," he said.

According to OSU spokesperson Steve Clark, students will receive quality education no matter where they learn.

"We understand that students feel that it's not quite the same. They're right. It's not quite the same. That doesn't mean its not of the same value," he said. 

While educators were caught off guard by at-home learning last spring, Clark said that faculty and staff have been preparing all summer, and investments have been made in technology and instruction for educators.

Academic advising and other student services will also be available.

"The students at Oregon State this fall will be receiving the same level of quality instruction by OSU faculty if they were in person or remote," he said.

According to Clark, there will be no tuition reduction. Instead, there has been a freeze on tuition increases during the pandemic and financial aid resources will increase. 

He also said that a student committee may choose to reduce incidental fees, which are used for services like recreation, health services and athletics. The committee recommended that the incidental fees run just over $420 in the 2020-21 school year.

There may be an increase in in-person courses in winter or spring semesters depending on the severity of the pandemic, Clark said.

There will be a virtual information session for parents on Thursday at 3 p.m.

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