West Chester University will give its undergraduate students up to $569.28 in free credits: a plan that is less useful to the 2021 senior class.

The “Spring Semester 2021 Video Update” featuring President Christopher Fiorentino explains the circumstances facing WCU for the spring 2021 semester in detail and how the administration will be working with undergraduate students through the pandemic, but fails to mention graduating seniors once.

West Chester University must do a better job addressing the needs of seniors when providing COVID-19 relief.

“Undergraduate students taking 12 credits in the spring will be able to take an additional 6 credits in any of the three summer 2021 sessions without being charged tuition,” said Fiorentino. The undergraduate students taking 15 credits in the spring, will be awarded 3 credits for one of the three summer sessions. Moreover, there is no mention of seniors on the WCU Spring 2021 Student FAQ webpage.

Currently, I live within the borough of West Chester with four other seniors. In total, we will be billed over $5,000 just for the cost of credits for our final semester at West Chester. This number does not include the multiple fees students are expected to pay on top of classes such as: auxiliary enhancement fee, distance education access fee, parking improvement fee, etc. This semester, I was billed $1,524.43 in only fees. A year ago, these fees would not have bothered me as much, but now most of the services provided, much like everything with COVID-19 are not being used to their full capacity. As a car owner and student, the Law of Scarcity applies to parking spaces on and off-campus.

West Chester University did offer free winter course credits to its students. Students that were not taking a full 18-credit course load this fall were given the choice to take as many credits as it would take to have a full-course load but in the winter. For example, if a student took 15 credits in the fall of 2020, they have the option to take three more credits during the winter session.  

This is simply not enough, given the winter and spring sessions have their own separate fees and more students graduate in the spring than in the winter. Plus, there is a significant difference in course offerings in the winter than in the spring or fall. One of the classes I will be taking in the spring that is required by my minor is only offered in the spring. By only providing financial support through the winter session for seniors, West Chester University is acting as if the spring session won’t carry it’s own challenges, old and new.

West Chester University should offer the free credits offered to undergraduates in the summer sessions to graduating seniors, but for the spring. This is not an unreasonable request. The only thing that is different about seniors than undergraduates is a year or two, but the result of that difference is costing them hundreds of dollars.

“West Chester, hail, all hail, through endless days,” are the lyrics to the West Chester University Alma Mater. Do these “endless days” expire when graduation is in sight?

 

Bri Ulmer is a fourth-year Communication Studies major with minors in Spanish, Youth Empowerment & Urban Studies, and Media & Culture. 

 

Citation

West Chester University. (2020). Health Notices. Retrieved October 26, 2020, from https://www.wcupa.edu/healthNotices/10.7Update.aspx

West Chester University. (2020). Health Notices. Retrieved October 26, 2020, from https://www.wcupa.edu/healthNotices/spring2021StudentFAQ.aspx

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