UM, FIU shift to online but tuitions unchanged
With the fall semester approaching, both Florida International University and the University of Miami have published plans to repopulate their campuses and adapt classes to online formats. One change not in the cards for either school is tuition adjustments for students taking some or all of their classes online, although UM will waive some fees for students who don’t return to campus.
According to each school’s website, both universities intend to open services and facilities such as dining halls and wellness centers to students on campus with safety measures in place. Each school’s reopening plan, posted in full on their websites, addresses the measures that will be taken to protect students and faculty, as well as protocols for Covid-19 testing and instances of positive cases on campus.
Both schools have set up a number of class formats to allow for social distancing, including coursework that is fully remote or online, “hybrid” models that have both face-to-face and digital components and fully face-to-face classes. At the moment, FIU’s website says 25% to 33% of courses will have a face-to-face component, with the rest being taught either remotely, which for FIU students entails virtual class meetings at a set time, or online, with a more flexible schedule.
While UM will offer face-to-face or hybrid instruction for many classes, Provost Jeffrey Duerk said in a June 30 town hall meeting that virtually all UM courses would be available remotely for students who don’t return to campus. However, Dr. Duerk said, students with digital schedules will still pay full tuition, although they may be exempt from some fees.
“These (courses) will be UM credits towards UM degrees (taught by) by UM faculty members,” he said. “(They) will be offered at the regular UM tuition rates. We will adjust the (additional) fees to be only those reflective of (students’) educational experiences.” For example, students who opt for a full slate of online courses won’t pay fees for the school’s wellness center.
Jacqueline Travisano, UM’s chief operating officer and executive vice president of business and finance, addressed a question during the town hall concerning the university’s room and board rates, which some students and parents inquired about due to UM’s shortened academic calendar that specifies in-person instruction will run from Aug. 17 to Nov. 20. The shortened in-person semester, she said, will not affect room and board rates, which were set in February. Because of the increased cost of sanitation in a Covid environment, as well as rising food prices, she continued, these rates would actually be higher if they were calculated now. However, UM will leave them unchanged and will “use the shortened time on campus to offset some of the cost.”
Megan Ondrizek, UM’s executive director of communications and public relations, said via email that undergraduate tuition for the 2020-2021 school year is $52,080. According to the school’s website, the total estimated cost of attendance for an undergraduate student living on campus is $73,712 without university health insurance and $77,546 with it.
Maydel Santana, FIU’s associate vice president of external relations, strategic communications and marketing, told Miami Today via email that “there is no plan to adjust tuition and fees this fall” for online, remote or hybrid courses.
FIU’s website addresses this issue by stating that students must continue to pay fees to support the maintenance of facilities such as athletic facilities and parking garages, as well as to access health and wellness related resources online.