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To: Columbia University in the City of New York; President Lee C. Bollinger

Refund Tuition and Student Life Fees

Refund Tuition and Student Life Fees

With the moving of classes to an online format and the change of grading to mandatory pass/fail, students are no longer receiving the quality education for which their tuition paid. In addition, with the cancellation of university events, especially senior events and commencement, students are no longer receiving the value of their student life fees. Finally, the recession created by the pandemic means that many students who rely on working to pay their tuition are suffering severe financial hardship. Therefore, tuition for the Spring 2020 semester should be refunded to enrolled students, including instruction fees and student life fees.

Why is this important?

On Friday, President Bollinger announced that all classes will now be graded on a Pass/Fail only basis. With the moving of classes to an online format, this represents a further decline in the quality of education. Given that students have paid nearly $30,000 for tuition this semester, it is unfair that they continue to pay this cost while receiving a level of education that is clearly inferior to that for which they paid. Online classes simply do not offer the same quality of instruction as in-person classes, and students no longer have access to the amenities that their tuition is supposed to fund, such as library and computer lab access, engineering equipment, and more. The mandatory pass-fail further means that students will be paying for tuition without any impact whatsoever on their GPA, which is another undue burden created by the university's policies.

Moreover, a significant portion of students' tuition is the student life fee, which pays for amenities that students no longer have access to such as Dodge Fitness Center. With the closing of these spaces and the cancellation of student events such as commencement and senior activities, it is unfair that Columbia continues to hold on to this money despite not being able to provide students these services for which they have already paid.

Finally, the pandemic that necessitated these measures has also thrown the U.S economy into a severe recession. Many students are facing severe financial hardship as a result of losing their jobs or their family losing their jobs. In fact, many students depend on their jobs to pay for their tuition. Ultimately, it is only fair that as Columbia recoups expenses from cancelling student events and closing campus spaces, that some of this money be refunded to the students whose tuition paid for it in the first place.

Please sign this petition and tell the administration of Columbia University to refund Spring 2020 tuition to all students.

How it will be delivered

As enough signatures are gathered, we'll deliver this to the relevant decision makers: President Bollinger, Student Financial Services, and the heads of financing for each school (ex. Office of Educational Financing for the School of General Studies).


Reasons for signing

  • Colleges and Universities accross the country have a accrued huge stashes of cash they call endowments. It is ONE of the reasons there is a student debt bubble. These institutions should be compelled to give this money back to the people to help with the crisis.
  • Virtual learning is subpar to the experience of a physical classroom.


2020-03-26 21:53:58 -0400

100 signatures reached

2020-03-23 22:30:02 -0400

50 signatures reached

2020-03-23 18:33:41 -0400

25 signatures reached

2020-03-23 17:07:55 -0400

10 signatures reached

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