This school just announced fall classes will 'at least start virtually'

The move raises the question as to whether the school will continue charging full-freight, including "campus-based fees."

California State University-Fullerton Provost Pamella Oliver said classes will "at least start virtually" in the fall.

Campus fees alone generate more than $24 million in revenue per semester.

California State University-Fullerton Provost Pamella Oliver said Monday that her school will “at least start virtually” this fall. 

In a virtual town hall, Oliver addressed a question regarding whether in-person classes will resume at the nearly 40,000 student school this fall. 

”We are assuming that in the fall we will be virtual,” Oliver said. “We will at least start virtually. And of course, that can change depending on the situation, depending on what happens with COVID-19. But at this point that is what we are thinking.”

”Like every university in America, we are working through the unknowns of the current pandemic as we plan for the Fall 2020 semester,” CSU Fullerton spokeswoman Ellen Treanor told Campus Reform. “To make sure we are prepared for all variables, but with the goal that we can offer in-person instruction, we are asking our faculty to be prepared to start the semester teaching virtually.”

”We will work with and follow the guidance of health agencies, the Governor, the CSU Chancellors Office, and others to make sure all members of our campus community are safe and making progress toward their academic goals,” Treanor added.

CSU-Fullerton is the first major school to publicly announce its plans for the fall semester. Other universities, such as Harvard University, Boston University, Purdue University, and Oregon State University have all expressed doubt that their schools will welcome students back to campus this year.  

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CSU-Fullerton is one of the nation’s largest universities by enrollment. It received the tenth largest amount of any college from the CARES Act.

Treanor said “tuition will remain the same,” even though students will begin the fall semester online rather than in-person. 

It’s also not clear whether students taking online classes in the fall will be charged the full amount of what the university describes as “campus-based fees,” which total $605.12 per student for the fall semester alone. 

”Fees are on a different structure and set by the student government,” Treanor told Campus Reform when asked whether fees will be the same.

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The university says “these fees are charged every semester for all students enrolled in classes, including but not limited to: part-time students, full-time students, online students, out-of-state students, study abroad students.” According to the university, 39,868 students were enrolled at CSU-Fullerton in fall 2019, meaning the university took in $24.1 million in “campus-based fees” in fall 2019 alone. 

If CSU-Fullerton does not charge those fees for the fall semester, the revenue loss would add to millions of dollars the school has lost already. However, if the school does charge the fees, it risks facing lawsuits, which a number of schools already face after not refunding tuition and room and board costs for the spring 2019 semester after classes went online and students were instructed to move off-campus. 

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