This summer, like many other Western students, I opted to take an intersession course to get one of my required courses out of the way. I was surprised at the price of the additional course. Perhaps these are the symptoms of a student suffering from the huge cash shortage May usually brings, but still, the price seems unnecessarily high at nearly $1,000.
During the year, students with a decent average can take as many courses as they like with no additional tuition fees. A friend of mine took seven this past academic year and paid the same as students taking the standard five courses (and, for that matter, the same as students taking only four courses).
This situation forces students who require extra courses to make a pretty crappy decision: students can either fill their course requirements by taking on an extra course during the year (provided they have the academic average), or they can get the credit during the summer.
This bizarre financial situation seems especially unfair to those struggling to pay their own tuition. Students who work while at university find it difficult with a regular course load, so additional classes would be even more troublesome. However, the summer course alternative costs students almost $1,000. Either way, students who work during the school year to pay tuition must make a financial sacrifice to take an additional course.
This pricing policy makes it seem as if summer students are subsidizing the loss the university must assume from students taking “free” courses during the year. Nowhere is this strange pricing discrepancy more noticeable than in distance courses. It makes absolutely no sense that a student taking Earth Science 086 online as a sixth course during the school year pays nothing, while another taking it during the summer pays nearly $1,000, especially considering the content is likely identical. This situation either asks students to work ridiculously hard or make outside sacrifices to keep up with a six-course load, or otherwise pay for that same course at a more convenient time.
Students complaining about class sizes should ask the administration to take a look at this issue. Class sizes would probably shrink if students had to pay for their sixth courses. This could make summer courses more economical as well, as enrolment would conceivably go up if the six-course option during the school year were eliminated. Either way, the administration should take a look at its somewhat unfair pricing policy.