Other than waiving the late registration fee and giving students the option to pay tuition in installments, the University did not reduce tuition for the fall semester, which will be a hybrid of in-person and online education until moving completely online after Thanksgiving.
The University's fee bill also did not look different from previous semesters. It remained $14,324 for full-time non-resident students and $5,982 for full-time residents. Students are still paying a $48 building use fee and a $75 technology fee.
The total cost of attendance for a resident remains at $11,962, while non-residents spend $28,639.
LSU will offer three new payment plan options beginning next semester as part of its COVID-19 response. Students can choose one of these plans…
The University addressed the lack of tuition and fee bill reduction in a statement Aug. 5.
“Even though all students will likely have some hybrid or remote classes this fall, LSU will still maintain all buildings and facilities, and will still pay the faculty who are delivering instruction and the employees who are providing services to students,” the statement read. “Your tuition and fees make this possible.”
LSU Residential Life charged early move-out fees to students who left their on-campus housing due to COVID-19.
History and political science junior Ethan Lauvray acknowledged the validity in both arguments.
“Students who live in Houston shouldn’t have to pay for the UREC or a building use fee since they’re not here getting access to those buildings,” Lauvray said. “On the other side of things, thinking from an administration standpoint, those buildings just can’t sit vacant. They still need to be maintained for when and if we are able to get back on the campus.”
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Professor Robert Mann said it could be too early to be having these conversations.
“The way I look at is that this is an extraordinary circumstance," Mann said. "For a couple of semesters, I’m willing to give the University a break, because I know that no one wants it to be this way. As someone who understands LSU’s budget, that it’s a house of cards--the school will not survive if they have to start giving huge discounts because instruction is going online.
“So in the short term, I think it’s just gonna have to be this way or the university is not gonna survive. If it goes on for two or three years, I think it would be reasonable to start asking some of these questions and start thinking about online versus offline.”
History junior and Democracy at Work Officer Chandler Clegg said students should not have to pay full tuition and fees this semester.
“Students should not have to pay the same amount of tuition as pre-COVID semesters as they will no longer have access to many of the resources that previously ‘justified’ the cost,” Clegg said. “While in-person learning is not a reasonable option considering our circumstances, students should not have to face the burden of overpaying for something that is objectively less valuable.”
Lauvray said the situation could be improved if the administration directly addressed students’ problems.
“From conversations I’m having with people on and off campus, they feel like they’re yelling into the wind with administration,” Laurvey said. “Communication is going to be a key element of remedying the relationship between the administration and its student population.”
Mann said that, much like other universities, roughly 75% of LSU's revenue comes from tuition and fees.
“I think it would be so much better if the leadership of LSU was able to make a decision solely upon the health and wellbeing of the student body and not have to consider the financial aspect of it as much as I think they have to,” Mann said.