Online classes may be convenient but the fee isn’t

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Dioslyn Oliva | Staff Writer

In this digital age, it’s no surprise that students at FIU take online classes. Online classes are appreciated for many reasons, but the extra fee is excessive and unnecessary.

Each semester, students at FIU pay standard fees; the health fee, the transportation access fee, the photo ID service fee and the athletic fee. Fees, although costly, are reasonable considering what they fund and how it benefits us students.

For instance, the transportation access fee funds university-run transport like the Panther Express between the Modesto Maidique Campus and the Biscayne Bay Campus. Or the Panther Mover that transports students within MMC. 

Students on full-ride or tuition-covering scholarships like Bright Futures don’t think of it. For others, depending on financial aid and out-of-pocket funds, the final cost adds up. I have a tuition-covering scholarship, but I can’t fathom paying these fees out of pocket. It’s unfair and insulting to students’ pockets.

Since online classes don’t require students to be in person, they don’t have to commute and can avoid the attendance requirements for their courses. They can complete their assignments and participate in their classes from their homes, dorms or anywhere.

The university can argue that this fee is simply a convenience fee for students, but online classes are also convenient to the university.

The university is free of various responsibilities by hosting online classes. Considering the size of the student population, the university can lessen the number of students physically present on campus. This alleviates a lot of on-demand spaces and resources the university has, like classroom space.

They don’t deal with the responsibility of scheduling classroom spaces. Not only this, they also don’t have to find office spaces for professors. Professors teaching remotely can grade and host office hours whenever they’re available. 

The university may argue that this fee helps fund online platforms like Canvas or Peason, which wouldn’t make much sense. In my experience taking online and in-person classes, I’ve used the same websites regardless of the class format.  

Many student’s like myself take online classes not because we want to but because it’s our only option. For example, some courses required for my majors are in the evening, which isn’t convenient since I rely on public transportation. So instead of going in person, I take the online class to avoid the inconvenience.

Many courses are offered solely online. It isn’t fair to those who have to pay this extra fee since they didn’t have the option to opt out by taking an in-person class instead.

Many students at FIU also work jobs to fund their education and can’t take in-person classes because it clashes with their work schedule. It’s respected that FIU offers online courses to help us move along with our academic careers. Yet, it’s a bit hypocritical as the university prides itself on offering students flexibility through online classes yet charges us excessively to provide that flexibility.

Even though we’re in one of the cheapest states for tuition, pursuing a degree here is still expensive. We already pay tuition plus fees and other expenses to obtain our degrees. We don’t need to pay an online class fee. Not only is it excessive, but completely unnecessary.


The opinions presented on this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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