Do you hear that? It is the small chirping sound of large corporations profiting on the vulnerable American citizens as they face a catastrophic worldwide pandemic. A pandemic that has caused death on a scale that has not been experienced since the 1918 Spanish Flu which killed an estimated 675,000 Americans.
While it is debatable whether or not COVID-19 is as bad as the media advertises, and whether it’s being sensationalized, what isn’t debatable is that it is continuously killing the economy and the paychecks of hardworking Americans. This year, unemployment is up due to the shuttering of over 100,000 small businesses and the bankruptcy of many large corporations. The economic spiral continues to ravage small and large companies alike.
However, this pandemic and its economic impacts are not an excuse for companies to harm consumers. Companies should be focused on providing safe working conditions and aiming their values and goals to better the consumer rather than worrying about greed. Until recently, Ohio University was one such company that gave the perception that it was trying to find the safest ways to teach its students while not focusing on profits; this can be seen from the two relief checks it sent out to its students over the summer.
The true plan of the university was revealed on Tuesday when President Nellis announced that the majority of Ohio University students won’t be coming back for phase two and the majority of people will continue with online classes for the remainder of the semester. What he left out of this extensive message was any indication that OU was planning on reducing the cost of tuition to match what the students are actually getting in terms of education and academic experience.
Let’s be frank, the majority of OU undergraduate students have been forced into online courses, yet they are still paying the in-person prices for tuition. Maybe this is a trivial issue at a time like this, but a lot of students don’t have scholarships or the financial means to sail through college, and an unjust price hike for services that are not of full quality isn’t right or fair to the people who work hard just to study and make ends meet.
Currently, one full-time semester for an in-state student and out-of-state student costs $5,948 and $10,680 respectively. Compare these prices with the prices of online courses which are around $240 a credit hour and only $3,600 for 15 credit hours, which is the recommended amount to graduate on time. So, after roughly doing the math, it can be viewed that OU is selling an online service to its students and then profiting around $2,000 (depending on course load) from in-state students and even more from those who are out of state.
There are currently 17,325 students enrolled in undergraduate programs, and of this amount, only 31% are qualified to return to campus for phase two; a percentage that doesn’t even represent how very few of the 31% will have face-to-face classes. Assuming 90% of these students are stuck in online courses for the remainder of the semester and that the university is averaging a $2,200 profit on each student (between in and out-of-state prices), then it is safe to say that OU is profiting no less than $34.3 million off of this pandemic.
This leads to the question that only time will answer: Is the administration at Ohio University going to continue to steal the dollars of its students, or will they do the right thing – before lawsuits appear – and reduce all tuition to the online rates out of respect for the situation a lot of people are in?
Brandon Bowers is a senior studying English Pre-Law at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Tell Brandon by tweeting him at @UnabashedlyBMB.