FPU tuition is raised despite pandemic and other university responses
Fresno Pacific University tuition was raised to $16,477 a semester for the 2020-2021, up from $15,983 for the 2019-2020 school year. This is a $494 increase per semester from the last school year. Many universities raise their rate each academic year in order to adjust for costs, but this year of 2020 is different for many reasons.
FPU planned to open for the school year, but unfortunately was stopped due to state legislation. During this time students from all across the nation were raising valid concerns in regards to their courses’ cost and what exactly their year would entail. Upon learning that the first semester of the academic year would be entirely online, students began questioning the amount they were paying for it.
At some universities—such as Johns Hopkins University, Georgetown, Princeton and Spelman College—the students were provided with a 10% discount off the fall semester tuition after the announcement that their classes would be held online. These universities, much like FPU, rely on tuition, student housing and other fees as a means of running their institutions.
Some universities, however, did not offer discounts to all students: National University in San Diego only made this option available to a certain subset. FPU did provide relief for students at the end of the 2020 spring semester with the Emergency Student Assistance Grant, which provided a certain amount of funds to students based on individual need.
In a media release issued on November 5, 2020, the university stated that undergraduate tuition will be frozen for the 2021-2022 school year. This freeze also affects people within the degree completion programs on all five regional campuses. Graduate programs will increase as usual. In a recent media release, John Endicott stated: “The institution recognizes the many hardships Valley communities have faced in 2020 and we believe keeping tuition flat for the next year will encourage students to pursue higher education in as affordable a manner as possible.”
This is great news for the upcoming school year, but unfortunate for graduating students. Students that are graduating had to pay the new rate despite the growing concerns around the pandemic and making ends meet. When asked about FPU’s response to the pandemic and tuition cost, Sheyla Castillo, a senior criminal justice major and psychology minor, shared her thoughts. “I think FPU has responded poorly with a delayed response. FPU didn’t respond when COVID occurred in regards to their tuition so students had no idea what tuition would look like during the fall semester of 2020 even though classes would be online.” This brings up another issue: students don’t feel a strong sense of communication with the university. During a time of endless unknowns it is of the utmost importance that students feel communication is a precedence.
Other students like junior Sandra Rodriguez, double major in pre-law and criminal justice, share some of the same sentiments. When asked about the tuition increase Rodriguez stated that it was difficult to place her opinion without all the information. “However, understanding priorities is something that was not done. To say the money I paid was in return used to make my learning experience better is a bit of a stretch. Yet, it is without fail the sports team received new uniforms and the basketball team new hoops.” There seems to be a trend that students aren’t sure what the increase in tuition was for, nor do they see it through their computer screens.
When asked if there was a sense of priority at FPU, both students interviewed said that they didn’t. It is unfortunate that in a struggling environment, FPU has failed to respond in a timely manner with answers to questions and concerns, leaving students feeling lost and paying more for less.
Author: Dani Mercado | A & E Editor