How Much Should It Cost to Have the Best Years of Your Life?

College Students Sue Universities For Charging Too Much

How+Much+Should+It+Cost+to+Have+the+Best+Years+of+Your+Life%3F

Cristina Spano

Vincent Kornacki, Reporting Journalist

A lawsuit was recently filed against the University of San Diego claiming that students are being denied the college experience they paid for because of online learning. Over 70 similar lawsuits have been filed against universities across the country. Despite the fact that these class-action lawsuits started being issued in early May, many of them have not been publicly settled yet. Almost all of the suits claim that part of the cost of going to college includes social factors like going places with friends. Since online learning is preventing those experiences from happening, the students are arguing that tuitions should be much lower than they are now. Other lawsuits are arguing that the value of an online degree is much less than that of an in-school degree, so tuition can and should be lower. While it seems like the influence of these cases would be limited to the COVID era of education, the eventual decision on these lawsuits could have permanent consequences for education as a whole. 

If federal courts support the students in their quest for lower tuitions, then they would be officially endorsing the idea that online degrees are worth substantially less than in-person degrees. This decision would damage the reputation of certain universities that focus heavily on online education, such as the University of Florida and Arizona State University. Additionally, this ruling could also have an impact on the job market. Many working adults who take online courses in order to get better jobs could be less likely to get those better jobs if their degrees are federally ruled to be less valuable.

As the school year continues, it would not be surprising to see more of these lawsuits occurring. Since online learning has been confirmed for the next semester by many colleges and universities, the debate over the value of online degrees will likely continue throughout the year. Regardless of the outcome, however, major changes will occur in the realm of education because of the lawsuits.