Pandemic learning: Thousands of Texas State students may be charged hundreds of dollars in online fees


**Editors note: In an earlier version of this story, a Texas State University spokesperson stated that spring semester classes which were forced online due to the pandemic did not incur an online fee. They also stated that Summer I students received a $50 reimbursement per credit for online fees. In an email to KXAN Monday night, they stated that spring students were, in fact, charged online course fees. They also issued a correction saying that the $50 credit was a one-time emergency grant for both online and in-class students. They say that grant has also already been extended to Summer II students.

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN)– A fee for online courses will still be effect for Texas State students taking Summer II and Fall classes.

The fee is $50 per credit hour for classes that are fully online or hybrid.

“It makes me feel like they don’t care,” says 22-year-old Jason Peake, who didn’t know about the fee for his summer class until a little over a week before it started.

“It gives me a lot of anxiety. When I first saw the email, I was very upset,” he says.

Peake’s three-hour class would be a $150 online fee.

Peake says the email came from his professor, not university administration.

According to the university’s website, The Texas State University System Board of Regents approved the electronic course fee in November 2005.

In an email to KXAN Monday evening, spokesperson Sandra Pantlik said all summer students received a grant to help pay for classes– whether in-person or online.

“As part of the university’s Bobcat Cares program to support students impacted by the pandemic, Texas State identified $5 million to provide all students enrolled in funded courses during Summer I and/or Summer II classes a one-time emergency grant equal to $50 per credit hour up to $600 across both summer sessions. The grant funding was in the form of a credit to student accounts to reduce the cost of summer courses. All students enrolled in summer I and summer II courses have already received this credit,” she wrote.

“If there was not that extra money or that extra support system, obviously economically $600 is a lot of money,” says graduate Student Corey Benbow.

So far, he has gotten $450 back for his summer classes.

“Giving the fee back through a grant is really a no-brainer because the resources should be less when you’re not meeting in person and not having to travel and all those additional things that may raise the cost of courses,” Benbow says.

“As Texas State University continues to evaluate delivery methods for Summer II classes, the implementation of the online course fee is being reviewed.”

Jayme Blaschke, Texas State University spokesperson

In an email to KXAN Monday evening, Pantlik says other Summer II fees will be waived.

“If the student was charged any of the following four on-campus fees: Bus Fee of $95, Student Center Fee of $100, Rec Sports Fee of $94, pr Medical Service Fee of $50, the fees will be waived. A majority of students whose bills changed last week due to our decision to continue with remote delivery will see their bills decrease. It may take a few days for adjustments to be made to student accounts for those students who now have all online/remote classes due to the July 2 decision,” Pantlik said.

Right now, the university is requiring all professors to hold some type of in-person learning for Fall 2020, with certain medical exemptions. But for Peake, who has had pneumonia three times, he’s hoping to avoid the classroom altogether.

“We see so many young people that do care, but those very few that don’t — If you have one person that doesn’t in your class, it’s over for everyone,” he says.

Peake is only taking one summer class right now, but is registered for a full class load of four classes in the fall. That means he could be looking at an extra $600 in online fees.

“I’m a business school student. I understand that corporations have a responsibility to the shareholder. But this is a public school. You’re supposed to be like teaching us, and making sure we have a good quality of education,” Peake says.

“If anything, this extra fee has derailed almost all the good faith I had in Texas State,” he adds.

According to the university website, the online fee goes towards services like “instructional design and course development, faculty professional development, student support services, standards and compliance activity, quality assurance, and some technology services.”

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