Breaking it down: What an emergency virtual CSU campus is really costing students

Jenn Pardinas, Reporter

  Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of things have changed in everyone’s lives, one of them including how students are approaching their schoolwork. CSU Bakersfield, along with many other schools, have turned to virtual learning. However, this has brought many students to ask questions about what is going on and requesting refunds for tuition.

  The CSU and UC systems are not offering a refund for tuition or fees amidst the pandemic. 

  Third-year digital media major Nestor Martinez is split about the decision.  

  “It’s a little unfair to those paying out of pocket because we are not using the facilities,” Martinez said.  

  Martinez believes that the breakdown of each facilities fee should be taken into consideration according to the time students spent on campus before the shutdown 

  For an undergraduate enrolled full time at CSUB, 2019-20 tuition cost $5,742. However, students paid an extra $1,680 in campus resource fees.  

  These fees broken down are as follows: 

Table of CSUB student fees broken down by category



  Many students complained about the closing of the Student Recreation Center, which is included in the Student Union Fee, with many arguing that they can’t use the gym anymore and so should get a refund for it. However, the SRC still remains open with online workout classes available via Instagram Live @csubsrc 

  “CSUB shouldn’t give tuition refunds. It’s an unexpected situation. We don’t know if they have contracts and they still need to pay instructors,” Martinez said. 

  The SRC isn’t going to be refunded because it is a mandatory fee, according to CSUB President Lynnette Zelezny, and they are still operational via virtual classes. Another reason why the SRC isn’t going to be refunded is because they have to pay the mortgage on the building. Also, students voted for the renovations still in progress in the Student Union building, and that money is being used accordingly. 

  However, other students didn’t like the idea and were very disappointed.  

  “Having the gym and the equipment is not the same as an in-home workout,” first-year business major Romelia Martin said. 

  Martin is an avid gym enthusiast who believes that she is not getting the most out of her money when it comes to the virtual classes being offered.  

  To enroll fully online at CSUB is a cheaper option for students if they were to enroll full-time at the main campus. For an online bachelors at CSUB, it costs $330 per unit compared to $372 per face-to-face unit.  

  If a student were to be enrolled fully online since the start of the semester, with compliance to the “15 to Finish” initiative, it would cost them $4,950 per semester. Compare that to a student fully enrolled who comes to the main campus for their classes and pays $5,580 per semester. That is a $630 difference in cost per semester. 

  “I’m not getting my full education. I can’t ask the instructor questions like before, and I’m not getting the help that I need,” Martin said. 

  Where students previously sat in classrooms equipped with things necessary for class, they are now at home on personal computers and in environments that may not be the most suitable for learning. 

  Students who paid a laboratory fee for a science class can have those fees refunded with a signature from the lecturer. The fees were to be used for the materials needed during lab activities which will not happen now. Students are still attending lab classes once a week, however, they do this via video conference with their professor for instruction, and students now send in their work digitally through uploaded photos or scanned documents.  

  Second-year student Jorge Perez thinks it was easier to do the work before, since they could interact with other students to get work done.  

  “It’s still doable, just takes a bit longer to schedule everyone together to get work done,” Perez said.