Graduate students deserve same lowered summer tuition as undergrads

Anna Click

An email from UT President Gregory Fenves was recently sent out describing how online summer classes would be charged under the prevailing COVID-19 circumstance. UT is dropping the tuition for undergraduates by 50%, but oddly, graduate tuition will remain the same. This seems strange, especially considering that UT is adding 2,000 seats, making the school more money and possibly even diminishing the quality of classes.

With the current switch to online learning, many students are already complaining that the standard of education has gone down. Technological difficulties cause poor connections, waste valuable time and inhibit adequate communication during class. Students noticeably hesitate to answer questions because they don’t want to trigger confusion as to who has the floor. So why don’t graduates also get a price drop?

After all, many undergraduates are still under their parents’ financial wing and don’t need the assistance as much as graduate students. We are mostly self-supporting adults, some of us with children. Don’t we deserve the same benefits extended to the young pups?

The email says the University will be supporting some graduate students “through tuition assistance in targeted graduate areas where a department may have limited resources,” but then doesn’t go on to say which areas those are. This leaves us hanging in suspense, and with a pending registration date of April 27, this key information could make or break our decisions. 

I understand that these are trying times and faculty are probably doing their best to work this out. I am grateful for the work they have done thus far and am hopeful that my area is one of these “targeted” ones that will receive financial assistance. However, all graduate students should be afforded the same reduced tuition as undergraduates for summer 2020. That is the fairest thing to do. If not, at least lay out in detail how this came to be decided. Give some sort of justification for the unequal treatment. 

Click is a first year master of science in social work student from Austin.