When I decided to come to Texas A&M for my bachelor’s degree, it was for the excellent education, a pleasant campus with good teachers and all the traditions A&M holds. I wanted caring professors who were excellent at their jobs, and who I could meet up with during office hours and ask questions if needed. Although tuition was high, I believed it would be worth it. And in my two years at A&M, I did get that education. There were some big classes with over 300 students and also some small classes that catered to my major. Regardless of class size, I could still get to know my professors.
Never in my life did I think that there would be a time when I would lose the high-quality education that I paid for. Everything was going well until the pandemic hit, and I discovered a new face of my school I never knew existed. Starting on March 23, all A&M classes went online due to the coronavirus pandemic in order for students and faculty to stay safe and healthy.
Nonetheless, as I was reading the email the university sent, I did not see anything about getting a refund for anything at the time. I had always seen A&M as a school that cared for their students more than any other school, so I thought that it would do more to help its students. Since students have paid to get an education on campus and meet with our professors in person, it is only right that A&M should at least partially refund us for the loss that we are facing.
But no, that was not going to happen. I am a student who was proud to be getting a high-quality education, now I am getting an instruction that I could find on YouTube for free. My tuition amount has not changed, but all my classes are videos I can find online. Since the way students receive their education has changed, the money we pay for education should change too.
A&M is going to refund housing and meal trades, but still, that is not enough. It should refund some of the tuition since the education students are getting is not exactly what we signed up for and is not to the quality it should be. For example, when I am attending my class through Zoom, I don’t understand as well as I would have in an in-person course. Even though I ask the professors to repeat some materials during the Zoom classes, I still have to go online and find other examples in YouTube videos to understand.
If I wanted to learn through YouTube videos, I would not have decided to attend A&M. Sometimes, YouTube videos may be better at helping me understand than the videos that I am getting in my classes. I think about the students taking chemistry labs, arts and all those classes that require teaching materials. Now all they are getting are videos. Art students and students with labs are not able to enjoy the feeling of mixing materials to make something new, but A&M is not compensating them for their losses.
One of the things the coronavirus pandemic has taught me about A&M is that it is just like any other school. Students are seen as money-making machines. It is not about the students, but about the money the students bring in. That is why we now have online classes but no refund for the loss of in-person education for which we paid.