The discussion for this particular editorial took a while. The general idea was that in some way or another, the university should “cut students some slack” when it comes to the summer tuition. That is, considering the extraordinary economic circumstances of the COVID-19 crisis, the change to online learning, and the lack of any stimulus support for students while the university did receive funding, students could use a little good will. Some students initially disagreed with the premise; other members suggested fees or tuition reduced; others felt it irresponsible to put excess burden on the university; others still had reservations about pushing for too much “slack” from the university, but felt that within the larger context, of our current circumstances, something needed to be done.
With all these viewpoints, the discussion was long and passionate, to the point where we weren't even sure we could come to a unified decision. However, after so much consideration, in the end we did agree on a compromise — one that should place a very minimal burden on the university while also cutting students some much-needed slack, and with the added benefit of fitting into an already established program at the university. That compromise was simple: NC State needs to offer the option for students to pay for summer session tuition in monthly installments.
In short, if a student wants to pay for summer tuition, they shouldn't have to pay $710 up front for one 3-credit hour class, but instead should be able to pay it in installments spanning the length of the semester.
Clearly, this is better for students. First off, it means that students don't have to immediately find $710 dollars, buying them some necessary time. One could easily imagine that in the student body’s current position, even an extra few months is pretty valuable. Without stimulus checks and with internships at risk, income is limited for many right now. And for many students, several of whom populate our editorial board, skipping these summer semesters throws a monkey wrench into their entire college trajectories.
Perhaps one of the most attractive aspects of this compromise to the skeptics left in our discussion was the fact that the practice already exists for spring and fall semesters; extending it to the summer would have the added benefit of the university not having to trailblaze new territory, which would be especially ill-advised during a world crisis. In short, we already have evidence of this system working, so the risk of failure is minimized, and the expectation of its extension to other semesters is reasonable.
One last point of contention in the discussion concerned whether the university could handle the delayment of payments for this long. Simply put, the majority of the editorial board felt that if the university was already planning to essentially live paycheck-to-paycheck on student tuition this summer, then they had already failed us for a number of reasons. If the university cannot handle such a lightweight, short-term delay in payments based on a practice it already has, then it ought to be held to the same expectations that students living paycheck-to-paycheck are held to, and perhaps take out a loan or reduce its spending on projects. Appropriately, if the university enacted this specific change, they would end up with the same amount of money by the end of the summer, designed to prevent any financial hole come fall.
All things considered, while it's an important topic to consider and rebut, we have a great deal more confidence in the financial and decision-making capabilities of our university than to seriously expect a huge financial issue from a small program like this. Ideally, the entire previous paragraph is unneeded, but accounting for the suboptimal is an important part of laying out a plan of action for the university.
After a long and belabored discussion, this editorial board decided we must speak on behalf of NC State students. We understand the university has an incredible and unprecedented number of concerns to deal with right now, and because of this, other issues can fall through the cracks. We want to make sure this is not one of those that falls through the cracks by bringing it to the attention of university administration. We ask the university to give students a break in the form of monthly summer tuition payments in order to save students the stress of having to make a major payment during the pandemic.
This unsigned editorial is the opinion of Technician’s editorial board and is the responsibility of the editor-in-chief.