As I write to you all, I am lounging around in the comfort of my own home. I’m connected to my high speed Internet playing music from my bluetooth speaker, all the while I’m using my laptop. Now, I don’t want any of this to be misconstrued and misread: this is not about me trying to gloat about my possessions or any material item. This is me offering perspective. I am from a two- parent household, so I am blessed to be in the position that I’m in. However, some of my peers are not as privileged as I am.
HCC online is not for everyone. It’s clearly much easier to access for students who are financially able to afford the technology required for online schooling. What about the less economically stable students? That “high speed” wi-fi isn’t available to them. Almost everyone has a smartphone, but not everyone has a solid data plan so even the option of doing any sort of school work or registration is made more laborious then necessary.
This is only the tip of the iceberg for technological issues that students who aren’t financially stable have to face.
Accessibility is the main problem with online schooling. Fine, the argument could be made that most students are capable of finishing said online work through other means such as libraries and even other people’s homes. With that being said, this is not the climate in which such can be possible. Given the current pandemic, these students are now put at even more of a disadvantage. The funds aren’t there, and that’s causing students to lose out on an education that they already paid for.
It has been proven that students coming from lower income households are more likely to have difficulty in school, from the jump. According to Watson Scott Swail, CEO of the Educational Policy Institute, an organization dedicated to helping less privileged students, this trend continues through students’ entire academic career. “For those who do manage to go to college, they are, on average, ill-prepared for the journey. Their poor academic preparation handicaps them the entire way, as do poor time-management and study skills,” Swail argues.
Speaking on the aforementioned “lost education,” what happens to all of the money these students are spending, thus putting them even further into poverty? Students aren’t paying ONLY for the curriculum. When paying for tuition, students are also paying for the services and facilities that define the campus. With everything being shut down, students are losing out on all of the extra services that they PAID for and putting themselves in further debt. Aside from just classes, students are paying for access to technology labs, advising offices and general campus life benefits.
With classes being moved online and the campus closed, all of these services provided by the school are now either compromised or have shut down completely. Generally speaking, when a person pays for a service, they are expected to receive that full service. That should apply here as well. We are not receiving the full experience, so it makes no sense to pay for said experience. Unless students are going to be reimbursed for the loss, these students are put in a worse position than they entered with.