Despite pushback, Stanford holds firm on maintaining spring quarter tuition

March 27, 2020, 8:36 p.m.

Stanford is sticking with its decision not to reduce spring quarter tuition costs, despite an upwelling of student opposition that includes a petition signed by 1,500 people as of Friday evening. 

Provost Persis Drell said in a call with program directors on Wednesday that Stanford won’t discount tuition because of the University’s “deep financial aid.”

“If we were to discount tuition, financial aid would be discounted,” Drell said. “It’s a benefit that would most benefit the people who can most afford to pay, and that didn’t quite feel right.” 

In an email to The Daily, University spokesperson E.J. Miranda wrote that “tuition will not be discounted for the spring quarter because the university’s educational costs continue.”

However, the student activities fee — which typically supports funding for campus organizations and events — will be reduced from $171 to $27, according to the University’s undergraduate FAQ page

Students argue that an online-only spring quarter won’t provide the same opportunities as one spent on campus. 

“Considering the impact online education will bring us, which is less interaction with faculty, incapability to hold meaningful discussions and attend research labs, and so on, we would like to start this petition to ask Stanford University to consider the possibility of deducting the tuition for Spring Quarter 2020,” the petition reads. 

“Absolutely ridiculous that we have to pay full tuition, and get 0.1% of what we are paying for,” added Ishira Fernando ’21 in his reasoning for signing the petition. 

The Daily Editorial Board concurs, arguing last week that “a discounted education should not be sold at full price.” 

In addition to criticizing “the inevitable limitations in the educational quality of online-only classes,” the students on the editorial board, which is independent from The Daily’s newsroom, wrote that students would lose out on the resources usually covered by their tuition — “resources including gyms, labs, technology centers, study spaces and practice rooms.”

Over on the Stanford meme page, Stanford Memes for Edgy Trees, a screenshot of a former version of the University’s FAQ page now serves as the group’s cover photo.

“Will tuition be reduced since classes are online only?” reads the question.

The answer: “No, we are not going to reduce tuition.” 

Contact Erin Woo at erinkwoo ‘at’

Erin Woo '21 is The Daily's Vol. 259 Editor-in-Chief. Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, she is studying communications and creative writing at Stanford. She has also reported for The Mercury News and WNYC. Contact her at eic 'at'

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