The Northerner | NKU reinstates online course fees, students weigh
In March 2020, NKU closed due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing all students to take their courses online for the remainder of the semester. For this reason, NKU has phased out online course fees for students. This continued for the 2021-2022 school year, but starting this fall, online courses will once again be chargeable.
Newly reinstated online course fees are $35 per credit hour, making a three-hour course $105 credit, more than taking it in person. For students taking multiple online courses, this price can add up.
Matt Cecil, provost and executive vice president of student affairs, explained that the reinstatement of online course fees is because there isn’t as much public funding at the federal level this year.
“Unfortunately, although we wish we could continue to spend those dollars, those federal dollars disappeared this year,” Cecil said.
Cecil also explained what this fee covers online, indicating how it covers some of the university’s resource costs.
“The online fee covers costs for things like the learning management system and library services that are sort of on top of the direct teaching costs for those types of programs,” Cecil said.
Cecil explained that these costs are standard at nearby universities, such as Eastern Kentucky Universitywhere they also charge special fees for online courses.
“However, as I said, these online fees are a pretty common thing across the country. We don’t like charging fees to students, but we have to cover our costs,” said Cecil.
Thu Le, a third-year finance major, is taking three online courses this semester. Le explained that most of her time at NKU was spent taking a lot of online classes, which makes it more comfortable for her. Le also said that taking online classes has given her more flexibility to work full-time outside of school.
“I have to admit that I’m used to taking classes online, so this semester I chose to take most of my classes online. As I also work full-time, I feel more secure. comfortable and I feel like the online courses give me flexibility in my work,” Le said.
However, Le said that when she saw the extra course fees, she was a bit shocked.
“When I saw it, I was a little shocked. During COVID-19, this fee was waived and I was taking many online courses. So, I was a little shocked when I received the fees, but I still had to choose online classes because of my job and other things I had planned,” Le said.
Other students like Jamie Collins, a library computer science major, explained that online classes are the best option for her with other time-consuming life commitments.
“I have a thousand things to do, so in line [classes] is the best format for me because I can schedule things whether it’s early in the morning, late at night, or while my kids are at school. Stuff like that, so that’s the best way for me to do it.
Collins explained how online course fees could be a game-changer for those paying for school out of pocket.
“I mean, it’s not going to break the bank, but I think it could be a game-changer if that person pays out of pocket,” Collins said.