Summer session pricing is unfair to students

Anna Staver

Kent State is offering a really interesting class during the Summer III session. It’s called “Take Back the Media,” and I really want to enroll. The only problem is the price tag, because Kent State students pay more for summer classes than they do for fall or spring semesters.

The university sells summer classes a la carte to students. That means we pay per credit hour, and each hour costs about $500. As a full-time in-state student, I pay nearly $5,000 per semester during the regular school year. For that price tag I can take anywhere from 12 to 20 credit hours, and it costs the same amount regardless.

If I took 12 credit hours during the summer, it would cost me $6,000. If I took 20 hours, it would cost me $10,000. That’s more than double what I pay during the regular school year!

I know not everyone wants to, or can, take a full load of courses during the summer. But for those of us who want to use the time to get ahead, I feel like the university is punishing us. For me, it stings especially hard, because this fall will be my last semester here at Kent State, and this class was really a now-or-never opportunity.

I think Kent State should offer a la carte pricing for summer up to the point that it hits the cost of a regular semester. I don’t think it’s fair to make me pay more for classes during the summer than I would pay during fall or spring.

Summer financial aid is doled out on the basis of paying a semester’s tuition, and so this summer I got about $5,000 for classes. Unfortunately, that only covers three classes.

Kent State’s summer pricing also seems out of step with the direction of lawmakers in Columbus. As part of his two-year budget, Gov. John Kasich required public universities in Ohio to offer three-year undergraduate degrees for 10 percent of their programs by 2012 and 60 percent by 2014.

It’s part of the governor’s push to improve graduation rates in Ohio. If you can graduate a year early, you save yourself money on tuition. And that’s a year you can be out in the work force earning an income.

At Kent State, one in two students will not graduate within six years. I’m not kidding: after six years of college, half the people who start still have nothing to show for it. Summer classes are supposed to be a tool to help keep students on track. I can get ahead of the game, or I can stay on track by taking a class that I wasn’t able to take in the spring.

I’ll be honest: I don’t need that class to graduate. It’s more of a want than a need. But I think that’s another purpose of summer classes: they give me the time to explore topics that interest me, but for which I might not have the time during the school year. Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do in college: expand my horizons?

So, here I sit staring at my FlashLine account trying to figure out if I can somehow make this class work with my budget. In the end, Kent State’s summer pricing just makes the cost too high. So, I’m left missing out on a really interesting class that I really did want to take – I just don’t have another $1,500.

Anna Staver is a senior news major. Contact her at [email protected].