500 signatures reached
To: Lewis & Clark College
Stop the Tuition Increase at Lewis & Clark College
Update: On April 23, 2020: President Wim Wiewel sent a community-wide statement in which he acknowledges the raise in tuition has upset people, but has no plans to make school-wide adjustments to tuition.
On April 20, 2020: Scott Fletcher, Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Counseling, made a statement that he will uphold the tuition increase without any changes.
Lewis & Clark College recently made the decision to raise the tuition for graduate students of the Lewis & Clark Law School and the Graduate School of Education and Counseling as well as the undergraduate students during an unprecedented economic crash due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While we understand and appreciate that the limitations arising from the pandemic are beyond the control of the Lewis & Clark administration, the College could be doing more to alleviate the hardships being imposed. No one expected this pandemic to hurt us in the many ways that it has, and no one certainly expected to pay even more than before for tuition and online classes. Lewis & Clark College can help all students by not only preventing this tuition increase but also through a partial tuition remission for Summer semester classes and beyond should the fully remote learning still be in place.
It is informative, during these bizarre times, to look around at how other higher learning institutions are reacting to the challenges we are all facing. On April 9 , 2020, Portland State University’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to reduce or refund multiple types of student fees. The University of Oregon also recently alleviated the payment deadline for their quarter’s tuition and extended it until June, even though their quarter already started. Even local Oregon universities have begun working to provide assistance programs that benefit all students, as compared to Lewis & Clark that has thus far only informed us that some students may get assistance. We ask that you look to these Oregon schools as an example of what Lewis & Clark College can do for its students.
Why is this important?
The Graduate School of Education and Counseling and the Lewis & Clark Law School hold classes in-person and are not easily taught online without the loss of invaluable learning experiences. Online courses do not provide the same quality of education as students lose out on person-to-person contact with peers, office hours and communication with professors and faculty, libraries and campus resources, service learning and internships, and building relationships with the community.
For students in the Counseling programs, CACREP- accredited online MA programs at private intuitions generally charge less per credit than Lewis & Clark. Now that Lewis & Clark has transitioned to online delivery of classes, it would be a reasonable and generous response for Lewis & Clark to offer comparable pricing per credit to these other institutions, so long as the COVID-19 pandemic and online delivery of classes continues.
The lowering of college tuition is especially important during this time as the nation’s economy and market downturn has caused major industries to close, leaving so many unexpectedly without an income and without jobs. During this unfortunate time, paying for colleges and universities is a luxury that many cannot afford. Additionally, Lewis & Clark College has made accessibility even more difficult by requesting tuition payment for summer term be made immediately and in full as the monthly payment plan that many students depend on is not offered for this upcoming term.
Lewis & Clark College, we ask you to consider how the decisions of this historic institution, which we are all proud to attend, affect the majority of students who have lost their jobs, who will not be able to afford their rent, who are grappling with not being able to eat, and who are struggling to support both their families and continue successfully with classes. Consider how first-generation students, many of whom are people of color, are affected by this pandemic and how many graduate students also play a dual role in supporting their families financially on top of being students. Not helping students through a partial tuition remission or tuition reduction feels as if the College is choosing to completely ignore the hardships that these students are facing and is a direct contradiction to the social justice values that Lewis & Clark College routinely espouses to have. Consider how a partial remission of tuition for Lewis and Clark students would alleviate the ongoing hardships of this pandemic for your students.
This is a crisis, and the burden of it should be shared by all of us sacrificing a little. We students have lost much in the format of accessing education. We should not have to pay more, while enduring an event that negatively affects us all. With all respect, we demand that our concerns are heard and addressed. We do not pretend to have all of the information or answers. We also believe that perhaps the College is somehow unaware of how deeply impacted we are, and how demoralizing the tuition increase truly is. This is a time for all of us, on all levels, to come together, working creatively to minimize the far-reaching devastation of this pandemic.