Some students say change to online not reflected by tuition

Langara students feel out of the loop with the college's spending during the pandemic

An empty hallway in Langara's library building. Photo by Norman Galimski
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By Norman Galimski

Some Langara students are unhappy that tuition has remained the same even though a large majority of classes are now being taught online this semester.

Like most other post-secondary institutions in B.C., Langara College’s tuition has not changed in response to the shift to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A typical Langara student’s tuition for 12 credits is between $1,200 and $1,600 dollars per semester.

Langara interim academic vice-president, Margaret Heldman, explained that “tuition is not being adjusted for online classes as the content remains the same, the credentials received remain the same and the resources required for faculty and administration have remained the same.”

Some students now receive less in-class lab time than before because of COVID social distancing protocols.

To maintain social distancing guidelines, nursing labs have been split into two groups per a professor per a class. Nursing students now receive about 90 minutes of lab time instead of the previous four hours of supervised lab time per a class as these labs need to be cleaned between groups.

According to Heldman, some costs have risen for the college due to classes going online. Most prominently, these include the costs of hardware and software licensing to give teachers and students the tools to work effectively online with software such as Adobe Creative Cloud and tech support for Brightspace.

At the same time, the college is losing revenue from services such as on-campus food vendors and student and staff parking fees, which are now free for everyone on campus.

Students have varying experiences

Liam Lytton, a second-year business student , cites the difficulties of online learning and lack of instructor access as valid reasons why he believes tuition costs should go down.

For some students, online classes have some advantages.

Daniel Umejiego, a first-year engineering student, said he feels tuition “should be a little bit less” but feels he has benefitted from being able to record and rewatch lectures.

Patrick Crescenzo, a first-year kinesiology student, said he would like to see a spending breakdown and believes that “as long as [Langara] is upfront, and everybody knows where everything is going, I don’t think you’re going to have that many complaints from students.”

Crescenzo said he took the Langara Student Success Course, a free workshop that helps prepare students for online learning and post-secondary classes. He said the course focuses on “learn[ing] more about yourself as a student which is really helpful.”

The Voice requested to see the Langara budget and changes to student enrollment this year, however the college said it did not have the data for this year yet.

Langara’s 2019 College Operating and Capital Budget is available on the college website. Enrolment data for the fall semester will be available soon, according to Heldman.

Patrick Crescenzo, a first-year kinesiology student, on their thoughts about the school’s spending transparency:

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